A four-time All-CCAA selection and UCSD’s all-time hits leader with 306, senior second baseman Garrett Imeson has had a star-studded career with the Triton Baseball team. He hit .355 for a 2009 squad went 41-15, won both the CCAA regular season and tournament championships, the NCAA Division II West Regional title and went to the D-II College World Series for the first time. “Garrett is the kind of player you build a program around,” says UCSD Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “He’s obviously a talented baseball player but his make-up made the guys around him better.” An economics/ management science major with a 3.5, Imeson capped off his collegiate career by being named UCSD’s Outstanding Male Senior Student-Athlete at last week’s Athletics Recognition Dinner. Now getting ready to graduate and move to the business world, the Stockton, CA native talked recently about this year’s team and the last four years in La Jolla.
Q—Now that you’ve had a week or so to let things settle in, how are you feeling about the past baseball season and your team’s accomplishments?
IMESON—I feel like it was an amazing season and am grateful to be a part of it. Our team accomplished something that had never been done before at the Division II level. I'm proud, thankful and excited for the future of the UCSD baseball program.
Q—Was the NCAA Division II College World Series everything you thought it would be?
IMESON—The CWS was even more than I thought it would be. I played on the nicest fields of my baseball career, had amazing support from the fans at every game and the games were even broadcast on the internet! We were taken care of like we were MLB players and I cannot explain how amazing the NCAA staff, grounds crew and people of North Carolina treated us.
Q—Was there a particular point in the year when things just kind of came together and the team felt like it could legitimately be a national championship contender?
IMESON—I think we started coming together the weekend of our Stanislaus series. After that four game sweep, we went on to win a bunch of games in a row. In the process our team was having fun and playing great baseball. We fully enjoyed being around each other and saw how capable we were of being national championship contenders. After that winning streak our confidence was raised to a whole new level.
Q—What was your reaction when you found out that you’d been named UCSD’s Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete and what does that award mean to you?
IMESON—I was shocked. I knew I had been consistent on the baseball field and in the classroom but did not think I had earned something so special. I'm truly grateful for the award and am thankful for everyone in my life that has positively influenced me. Being one of two Outstanding Senior Student-Athletes recognizes my dedication to UCSD academics and athletics.
Q—Did you find it more difficult balancing baseball and classwork during the season or outside of the season?
IMESON—I feel during the season is hardest time to keep up on class work. This is mostly due to being absent from class. It may seem like you can get by missing a few classes, but it makes a huge difference on the exams.
Q—In your opinion, what characteristics have been most important in allowing Coach Dan O’Brien to build the type of program at UCSD that is successful year-in and year-out?
IMESON—Commitment, passion, dedication, leadership, toughness, trust and the ability to keep people motivated. He loves to win, but in the process makes each and every person that plays for him a better individual.
Q—Coach O’Brien often talks about leadership and consistency, which often relies on a team’s seniors. What things did each of your fellow four-year seniors bring to the program?
IMESON—We (Matt Cantele, Josh Tanner, Trevor Decker & Tim Mort) all have very different personalities but collectively we were committed to winning. A lot of our teammates’ personality styles could relate to at least one of us, so it was easy to communicate with them. We have all grown up together and that bond helped us be successful. Interestingly enough, those four-year guys will all be groomsmen in my upcoming wedding.
Q—You’re the career hits leader at UCSD and your hitting statistics in each of your four years have been incredibly constant. To what do you attribute that?
IMESON—Being mentally solid. I had a plan and stuck to it whether I got hits or not. I didn't let myself get wrapped up in emotion when I had a bad string of at bats. Instead, I knew things would come around because of my consistent preparation.
Q—How did you get started playing baseball and what’s kept you playing all of these years?
IMESON—I started playing baseball at the age of four. Ever since then I have loved the game and had a tremendous amount of fun playing it.
Q—What other sports have you played and is there another sport you think you could have excelled at if you’d chosen to concentrate elsewhere?
IMESON—I was a national champion in Karate, a decent golfer and tennis player. Coaches told me I could play D-I tennis when I was 13, but baseball was during the same season so I gave it up. I loved golf and was good at it, but at the time I thought it messed my swing up so I quit that for baseball as well. I'm looking forward to getting back on the links though.
Q—Is this the end of your baseball career or do you plan to keep playing at some level in the future?
IMESON—Unless I get drafted, this is probably the end of my career. I have had an amazing run and have no regrets. Although my last game was walking off the field in defeat, I considered myself a champion and there is no other way I'd rather go out short of winning the title.
Q—Speaking of the future, what do you intend to do after you graduate in June?
IMESON—I have a financial adviser position lined up at Edward Jones. So if anyone needs someone to help invest their money, I'll be awaiting a call.
Q—Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently during your collegiate career?
IMESON—No way. If I did anything differently I wouldn't be the person I am today and apparently that has gotten me somewhere!
Previous Q & A Articles
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009
Kendall Bohn (Women's Swimming) December 22, 2008
Kelvin Kim (Men's Basketball) December 15, 2008
Michelle Osier (Women's Basketball) December 5, 2008
Sylvia Schmidt (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2008
Denny Harper (Men’s Water Polo Head Coach) October 17, 2008
Ron Larsen (USA Volleyball Assistant Coach) October 13, 2008
Jessica McGovern (Women's Soccer) October 6, 2008
Bre Schofield (Cross Country) September 26, 2008
Tony Fernandez (Men's Soccer) September 18,2008
Kimberly Carpenter (Women's Volleyball) September 12, 2008
A.J. Kotanjian (Men’s Water Polo) September 2, 2008
Peter Akman (Men's Soccer) August 21, 2008
Natasha Belak-Berger (Women's Soccer) August 15, 2008
Jake LaVieux (Men's Cross Country) August 8, 2008
Dr. Penny Rue (Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs) July 30, 2008
Michelle Torres (Women's Volleyball) July 15, 2008
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer Head Coach) July 1, 2008
Julie Ertel (Athletics) June 16, 2008
Clint Allard (Men's Basketball) June 9, 2008
Jen Myers (Women's Crew) May 27, 2008
Casey Ryan (Men's Track and Field and Men's Basketball) May 21, 2008