Future looks bright for former Mundelein High track star
Even though she wasn’t on the program when the Illinois State University (ISU) Redbirds women’s track team won the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championship last week, Katie Stanczykiewicz couldn’t be happier to be on the team as it prepares for the 2016 outdoor season.
ISU’s win in the championship in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was its first conference title since 1997. The Redbirds open the outdoor season at the Eastern Illinois Big Blue Classic in Charleston on March 31.
Stanczykiewicz said that the experience of coming to college has helped her to develop and mature in various ways.
“I really love ISU,” she recently told The Lake County Gazette. “I love the experience of being a student here, being an athlete here. It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve met a lot of great people here. Everyone is willing to help you and make sure you succeed.”
Stanczykiewicz believes the most important aspect of being a student athlete is to focus on one thing at a time in order to stay ahead of the game both on the field and in the classroom.
“I’ve definitely learned how to manage my time better,” she said. “I struggled with that at the beginning of the year.”
Stanczykiewicz plans each day ahead of time, likes to write everything down in her planner and credits her growth and maturity to a steady daily routine: She takes early morning classes, has practice at the same time every afternoon and completes her homework at night. Stanczykiewicz also said she is learning valuable life lessons through being a part of the team.
“It teaches you how to deal with your successes in life as well as your failures,” she said. “I think that helps later in life when you’re looking for a job or when you are having troubles. It helps me to realize and to appreciate both the good times and the bad times in life.”
At Mundelein High School, Stanczykiewicz graduated summa cum laude and was the president of her senior class. In track and field, she was a four-year letter winner and two-time team captain. She holds the school record in the high jump -- 5 feet, 5 inches -- and won the event at last year’s Lake County Invitational Championship with a jump of 5 feet, 3.02 inches.
Stanczykiewicz was an outstanding high school soccer player as well.
“I loved going to high school in Mundelein because the people there helped me to become closer with my classmates and others in the community,” she said. “I feel like I developed many close-knit bonds there, and the experience really helped me develop a sense of pride of where I came from.”
At ISU, Stanczykiewicz is pursuing a double major in political science and environmental health. She plans to go to law school and says her dream job would be practicing as a lawyer for the United Nations. However, Stanczykiewicz is not limiting her career options; she would also like to be a political strategist.
“It really surprises people how much I’m into politics,” she said. “I’m really passionate about helping the future generation; that’s really what I want to do when I’m older. I want do as much as I can to help the country and the world in general -- I just want to leave a great mark on the world.”
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