Kazprzak displays dedication on, off track

As the stresses of finals steadily raise our blood pressure, it can be easy to lose perspective of what truly matters in life. To senior distance runner Samantha Kasprzak, life is much more than a stressful exam week and an intense track and field season.

A member of the U.S. National Guard, Samantha Kasprzak will leave school after this semester to serve seven months at officer candidate school. Photo by Shannon Malchow

A member of the U.S. National Guard, Kasprzak’s story began when she originally enlisted at the age of 17. After taking a year off of school to do basic training, Kasprzak arrived at UW-Whitewater and has participated in cross country and track and field since.

She loves to run and feels that her time in the Army National Guard has made her stronger as both a person and an athlete.

“I think to stay strong, never accepting defeat and being competitive,” Kasprzak said. “I’ve had ups and downs in cross country and track [with] not running how I would have liked and some injuries, but staying strong and never giving up is what I’ve learned from my experience.”

Kasprzak’s job in the Army is a 74D, which is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. She plans to graduate this summer, and will enlist in officer candidate school.

After her seven-month officer candidate school training, Kasprzak will return home as a second lieutenant and will rejoin her unit in Milwaukee, overseeing the ambulance platoon.

Head coach Josh Ireland has noticed Kasprzak’s hard work ethic from the Army carry over to her performance on the track.

“The thing I like about Samantha is that she is always looking for ways to improve, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to better herself as an athlete,” Ireland said. “That shows me that she truly cares about the sport and this team. She will be missed, and I wish I had the opportunity to coach her longer, but I know she will do great things after her time at UW-Whitewater and represent our university well.”

While Kasprzak hasn’t been deployed yet, she sees that as a very real possibility in her future after OCS.

“I have not been deployed yet, but I do foresee this in the future,” Kasprzak said. “I do plan on returning to school when I’m done with training, and I’m hoping to get into a Ph.D. program in health psychology.”

Kasprzak’s dedication to our country is a refreshing reminder of what really matters in life.

“I’ve learned a great deal of work ethic, and overall I’ve become a better person from being in the military,” Kasprzak said. “It has made me stronger person that has carried to civilian life.”