Senior develops life skills through sport

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She is the employee of which organizations everywhere dream. Extensive leadership experience, a gargantuan ability to overcome adversity, a knack for high achievement and a competitive drive for success are just a few of the traits that Lauren Mathewson can bring to her future career.

“I think that what I’ve done here has prepared me for whatever challenges are going to come for me,” she said.

Many would agree. Mathewson is a libero for K-State’s volleyball team and has emerged year after year as the top player in the back row, both at K-State and in the conference. She is graduating this year and the question now is where she will go.

“I think that working in sports is what I want to do, and I want to stay around this competitive environment,” Mathewson said. “I don’t (have a job) yet, so throw my name out there. ‘She needs a job, so call her.'”

She has already done the job herself of putting out her name with her myriad awards. For instance, Mathewson has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team for the past three years and was named to the Academic All-District Team this year, is second in career digs at K-State with 1,755, played the most games ever as a freshman and as a sophomore, and is second in most 20-dig matches with 25. Those are less than half of her accomplishments at K-State.

Mathewson said she was proud of her award for moving into second in career digs, but there are bigger things out there.

“It’s exciting,” Mathewson said. “I feel like I’ve been working hard my four years here. It’s a great award, and I appreciate it, but I think that more importantly I’ve had a wonderful experience here. I think that I enjoy that more than any other award that I can get.”

Head coach Suzie Fritz said she has to be rewarded for the fact that she sees things at a very high level.

“She stands in the right place, and she makes a lot of plays, keeps us in a lot of rallies,” Fritz said.

None of it came easily, Mathewson said, but all of it has built her into a better person.

“It’s taught me a lot about leadership,” she said. “I’ve had to learn how to get through obstacles and challenges and kind of how to motivate my team through the good and the bad.”

One obstacle is a painful physical condition.

“The last couple of seasons have been a little bit more difficult for her, because she’s had to fight through a pretty significant injury setback that has really challenged her to be maybe as mentally strong as anything, because she’s not at 100 percent,” Fritz said. “She doesn’t play at 100 percent. She’s not at 100 percent day to day. She has pretty significant pain that she has to play through.”

Even so, Fritz said her star libero comes out fighting every day.

In addition to Mathewson’s achievements and mental toughness, she is also a good leader, pushing her team to greater heights, even when work is less than savory.

“She’s kind of the accountability person on our team, where she kind of sets the bar and expects everyone else to follow along,” Fritz said. “And that’s a very unpopular role.”

Mathewson has shown time and again that she has what it takes to succeed — on and off the court — and her future will likely show nothing different.

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