SE: Senior Spotlight: Meaghan Kuzmich
Leading up to Kansas State’s graduation this weekend, K-State Sports Extra will feature four student-athletes who have gone above and beyond in both competition and in the classroom.
Today, we’re featuring rowing senior Meaghan Kuzmich.
Kuzmich, a native of Aurora, Colorado, has lettered four years with the Wildcat rowing team and has worked her way up to the team’s top coxswain this season.
In charge of K-State’s 1V8 boat, Kuzmich has led her team to two victories this season and has her sight set on this weekend’s Big 12 Rowing Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 2014, she led K-State’s 2V4 boat to a Big 12 Championship, while she led the Wildcats’ 2V8 boat to a bronze finish at the conference championship the following season.
While Kuzmich has been a leader to her teammates on the water, she’s been an example to follow in the classroom as well. Earning her degree in Biology and Women’s Studies this weekend with the goal of attending medical school in the future, Kuzmich has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll every semester during her four years at K-State, is a two-time C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient and also boasts 2015 First Team Academic All-Big 12 honors.
“I’ve seen a lot of maturity from Meaghan this year,” said rowing head coach Pat Sweeney. “She has really taken on the roll of being the No. 1 coxswain on the team. She’s done a really good job of working with the younger ones to try and let them know how they should do things, and her confidence within the boat, that is what you’re looking for from a senior coxswain. She’s in command of that crew and is running the show.”
We sat down with Kuzmich to talk about her time at K-State.
Sports Extra: What are your plans following graduation?
Meaghan Kuzmich: I’ll be in Peru working with a women’s health clinic over the summer, then when I come back, I’m planning on working as a scribe in a hospital near home (Parker, Colorado). I’ll be paired with a physician and do all the behind-the-scenes work.
SE: How difficult was it to balance a challenging degree like biology and being a student-athlete?
MK: It is really difficult, especially just trying to fit in your school work and studying. A majority of student-athletes take five years to graduate, especially on the rowing team, and I squeezed it all into four years. I was taking 15 to 18 credit hours every semester, and that’s rough, but I don’t mind staying busy. I know quite a few other pre-med students who have no problem getting their work done because they don’t have to be at practice 20 hours a week, but it’s not too bad and it keeps you motivated, especially when you have 90 other girls constantly pushing you forward.
SE: Have you felt K-State Athletics has helped you find that balance with the academic resources provided?
MK: Yes, definitely. We have plenty of academic help, tutors and academic counselors. Everybody is always helping get you where you need to be and that’s been really nice; we have a great support system.
SE: How much do you think you have grown over the past four years with K-State rowing?
MK: I was on a rowing team back in high school. I was an actual rower at the time, and it was very different. Having that experience definitely helped me have an edge at the beginning, but I’ve grown tremendously since then. Looking back to the beginning of my career, I was very shy. I was very quiet and kept to myself, but now being a leader on the team and getting to help those who are under my wing, I’ve definitely seen myself grow quite a bit.
SE: What have been some of your fondest memories from your time at K-State?
MK: There are so many (memories). Becoming a Big 12 champion was definitely up there, but it was just those day-to-day experiences with all of my girls. They have such a place in my heart. Some of them are so goofy, and those are going to be the moments I miss the most – all of those moments with my girls and the experiences we’ve had with them.
SE: What are your goals for the remainder of this season?
MK: I just want to get my girls to be the best they can be. They have so much power and I just want them to be able to hone in on that and believe in themselves, and that’s what I’m here for, to be able to get them to that point.
SE: Are you looking forward to this weekend’s Big 12 Championship?
MK: It’s definitely going to be bittersweet because I don’t want to see my time here come to an end, but at the same time I’m looking forward to going out as hard as we can, hopefully placing as one of the top three boats again.
SE: Finally, what has been the best part about being a student-athlete at K-State?
MK: Being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. I think that goes for all of us student-athletes. K-State does a great job helping us in being student-athletes, really being the best we can possibly be and giving us that feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself and see yourself contribute and make a difference.