Senior learns from injury how to lead young team

Senior learns from injury how to lead young team

Maple Leaf basket-ball player Krystal Deunsing has developed exceptional leadership skills, but not without hardship.

Maple Leaf basket-ball player Krystal Deunsing has developed exceptional leadership skills, but not without hardship. Photo by Brandon Long.

With such determination and willpower found only in the most passionate student-athletes, Krystal Duensing, a senior, has consistently proved herself to be a valuable asset to the Goshen College women’s basketball team.

Striving for improvement with her dedication to the team, Duensing has earned herself the title of co-captain for the third year in a row. However, to Duensing, this year is special.

“As the only senior, I am the most experienced player,” said Duensing. “I know what Coach Wik wants – and I feel like, as a senior – it is my responsibility to help the younger players. I want to help prepare them for the years to come so that they can have continuing success and work their way to the top of the conference in the coming years.”

According to Coach Steve Wiktorowski, Duensing’s commitment to the Maple Leafs has been noticed.

“By far, the biggest contribution [Duensing] has made to this program,” said coach Wiktorowski, “has been through her leadership and example both on and off the floor. Everyone respects her so much because of her effort, competitiveness and dedication to Goshen College basketball, which is a tremendous example of someone reaching their full potential as an athlete, student and person.”

For Duensing, it has not been easy to obtain the leadership qualities she holds today. As a first-year, Duensing endured an ACL tear just before the fourth game of her college career.

“An ACL tear means you are done for the next six months,” said Duensing. “I red-shirted my freshman year. After six long months, I was ready to come back. Now, whenever someone goes down and grabs their knee, I just pray that it isn’t their ACL.”

Through this experience, Duensing learned to make the most of every game.

“I always remind the girls,” said Duensing, “that each and every day you step on the court you take advantage of it because you never know when an injury may occur.”

Currently in the middle of her senior year, Duensing continues her hard work and dedication to the team by training every chance she gets.

“I would have to say,” said Duensing, “if I am not working, in class or playing an away game, I often find myself in the gym.”

In the spring, Duensing will graduate with a major in biology and plans to attend pharmacy school. However, with aspirations of becoming a coach, basketball will not leave her life anytime soon.

Brandon Long
Written by Brandon Long

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