Graduating student-athletes ‘grateful’ for time at OSU

OSU Basketball senior center Gligorije Rakocevic goes for a lay-up against California in Gill Coliseum.

Matthew Brooks, Sports Contributor

With the 2018-19 school year coming to a close, Oregon State Athletics watches another go-around of senior athletes walk across the stage at commencement and onto other things in life. 

Oregon State Men’s Soccer midfielder Nathan Braaten suited up for the team 53 times during his four years with the Beavers. While his contributions on the field included two goals and two assists, his contributions off the field is what stood out most.

Braaten, who is earning a degree in finance, co-launched Dam Worth It, an on-campus campaign focused towards ending stigmas surrounding mental health.  

Kimya Massey, a senior associate athletic director for OSU, said it was a true pleasure to work with Braaten throughout the last four years.  

“It’s inspiring and exciting to see what [he was] able to accomplish in such a short period of time,” Massey said via email. “There is no doubt that Dam Worth It will remain and continue to be a strong pillar of this department and our university community.” 

Oregon State Men’s Basketball center Gligorije Rakocevic, known to many as “Big G,” spent four seasons playing for the Beavers where he made 112 appearances with 22 starts. 

In his OSU career, Rakocevic averaged around three points and three rebounds per game in 13 minutes on the floor. During his freshman season, he played seven minutes per game with 27 appearances as the team made it into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990, which was Gary Payton Sr.’s final season with the Beavers. 

Rakocevic said he enjoyed his time playing basketball at Oregon State while earning a degree in sociology. 

“I would like to thank my coaching staff for giving me this incredible opportunity to play a sport I love,” Rakocevic said. “I will forever be grateful for all they’ve done for me.”

Oregon State Football offensive lineman Blake Brandel has started in 36 straight games for three seasons. This past year, Brandel’s play

at the left tackle position helped OSU freshman running back Jermar Jefferson become the first Beaver to rush for over 1,000 yards in 10 years. 

Brandel, who is earning a degree in business administration, worked hard off the field as he was named Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention in the last three seasons.

Mandi Rodriguez, an academic counselor for OSU Athletics, named Brandel as a representative of the athletic department and university. 

“He is highly revered by his teammates, respected by his professors for his quality work and contributions in class, and always treats the athletic support staff with respect and overall cheerfulness,” Rodriguez said via email. 

Oregon State Women’s Basketball guard Katie McWilliams, who is earning a degree in kinesiology, played in 136 games with 86 starts across four seasons in Corvallis. 

A career 38% three point shooter, McWilliams had her best season in 2017-18 when she averaged eight points and four rebounds per game for the Beavers while shooting 45% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. 

Mikayla Pivec, a guard for the women’s team for the last three years, praised McWilliam’s humility and contributions to the team. 

“Katie McWilliams has been a great example for all of us to follow on the court, in the classroom and in life,” Pivec said via email. “Her selfless personality was evident as she did whatever was best for the team with a smile on her face, often sacrificing her game or own recognition for the benefit of those around her.” 

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