LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Whether it be in the classroom, on the soccer pitch or on the small screen, Cristen Drummond’s star has always shined bright.
Drummond made a name for herself during her brilliant soccer career at the University of Nevada, where she remains one of the most decorated soccer players in school history. She is now one of the top young television journalists in the nation.
Her road to becoming a soccer standout and a highly respected television personality is something that comes as no surprise considering her abundance of energy.
“I like to be on the go,” she said. “I was always known as the Energizer Bunny by many of my teammates.
Athletics Paved Her Way
The road to soccer stardom began at an early age when her father, Wylie, a former collegiate soccer player himself, pitched a makeshift soccer field inside the family home just outside of Los Angeles. Wylie Drummond played soccer at Claremont McKenna College in suburban Los Angeles.
“Dad would set up a field inside the master bedroom when I was about three,” Drummond said. “The fireplace was one goal and the doorway was the other and we would spend hours working on skills that obviously paid off in the long run.
Casualties were also encountered along the way.
Such as a treasured piece of crystal that was knocked from its perch that neither father nor daughter has taken credit for chipping when Drummond’s mother quickly noticed something amiss.
The culprit remains at large.
A talented athlete, even at an early age, Drummond later played tee-ball. She later gave that up in favor of soccer.
“I always knew I had some talent,” she said, “but there were certainly other girls who were better at tee-ball than I was.”
That was when soccer became Drummond’s focus.
She began playing on club teams in and around the Los Angeles area and was a member of some highly competitive clubs that attracted some of the top players from the area, according to Drummond.
One of her teammates was Alex Morgan, one of the current stars of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
That duo would reconnect a short time later as collegiate opponents in a match that curtailed a major portion of Drummond’s junior season at Nevada.
Path To Television
By the time she graduated from Marymount High School, Drummond had already made up her mind to pursue a career in television journalism.
One of her best friends in high school was the daughter of popular television talk show host Leeza Gibbons, who is best known as a correspondent and co-host for Entertainment Tonight (1984-2000). Gibbons also had her own daytime talk show, Leeza (1993-2000).
Drummond had honed her soccer skills to a high degree that she had scholarship offers from 38 schools to continue her career on the pitch. That made her decision even more challenging as she sought the best balance between academics and athletics.
She visited Princeton, Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan. But it was a short trip from Los Angeles to Reno, Nevada that helped make the final decision.
“I kept moving myself back west when taking my official visits,” she recalled. “I really didn’t want to be too far from home.
That visit to Nevada’s campus was all it took to nail down her decision to sign with the Wolfpack.
“The campus was absolutely beautiful,” she said. “I fell in love with it almost immediately and was impressed with the buildings and the feel of the campus as a whole. It truly is a beautiful campus.”
She also thought she would have a chance to see significant playing time in her first season.
“I saw an opportunity to go into a program that was up and coming and play right away,” she said.
But trials followed in rapid succession once arriving on campus in the fall of 2007. Terri Patraw, who had coached the Wolfpack for three seasons, was replaced within two weeks of Drummond’s initial fall camp and Antoinette Marjanovich took over for one season. She was replaced by Jaime Frias, who held the position for two seasons before being replaced by Melissa Price prior to the start of Drummond’s final season at the school.
Drummond wound up playing for four different coaches during her time with the Wolfpack.
Drummond’s name still resonates throughout the Nevada record book.
She tops the career charts in shots (154), including a school-record 55 shots in 2010, which still ranks No. 1 for a single season. She remains fifth in goals (15) and points (38). She also tallied eight assists in her career, which is still No. 8 on the team charts in that category.
Drummond was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 2008 after leading Nevada in goals (4) and points (8) picked to the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the tournament in Boise, Idaho.
Her junior season was curtailed almost from the start. In the opening match of the season against California Drummond was sandwiched between her former teammate Morgan and another Cal player and suffered a severe knee injury. The Golden Bears won the match 4-1 and Drummond would miss seven weeks before coming back just before the start of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
She was also tabbed as a preseason all-conference player prior to the start of the 2010 campaign and ended her collegiate career by being chosen to the MWC second-team honors squad.
Drummond was chosen the female athlete of the year at Nevada in her final year at the school.
Drummond graduated at the top of her class from the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism at Nevada before embarking on her professional career in television.
She has worked at stations in Macon, Ga., Atlanta and Greensboro, N.C. and has covered a variety of stories, including the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis and the 2016 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She has covered the 2016 presidential rallies in North Carolina and House Bill 2, the controversial anti-discrimination law passed in North Carolina dubbed the “Bathroom Bill.”
She returned west after her stay in Greensboro and is now working for KLAS, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas and has been nominated for several Emmy Awards already in her short career.
“It is an honor to work (at KLAS),” she said. “I have developed a relationship with some of the finest journalists in television who have gathered here and are working to make our station the best station.”
Soccer will always remain a big part of Drummond’s life with the lessons it taught her over the years.
“Soccer, and athletics in general, allows you to be true to yourself, working hard and having a team spirit,” she said. “Those are things you can easily translate into the real world and the beauty about team spirit is that it allows you to learn to respect everything and everybody.”
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.