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By Rayne Brown
At the age of three, Colleyville, Texas native and Baylor women’s soccer defender Kat Ludlow picked up a soccer ball, and has hardly put it down since. Now, as a senior, Ludlow continues to perfect her craft. So much so, that she has been nominated for the 2013 Senior Class Award.
Ludlow took a mission trip to Kenya, carries a 3.73 GPA and works to play a leadership role with her younger teammates.
“She physically sets the tone for our team,” Baylor co-head coach Marci Jobson said. “After recovering from an injury, she was rusty in the preseason and has started to get the rust out of her and is doing very well.”
Ludlow is running head to head against 29 other female soccer players from schools across the nation who, according to seniorsclassaward.com, “excel, both on and off the field”. To be eligible for the award, a student athlete must be classified as a NCAA division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence—community, classroom, character and competition.”
The mission trip to Kenya was a life-changing experience for Ludlow. She spent two weeks in Kenya during the summer before her sophomore year.
“You would never expect to go and involve yourself in something like that, but it was amazing to see how humble the people were there,” Ludlow said. “They had nothing, but then they still offered everything.”
For Ludlow, giving back was not a one-time thing. According to Ludlow’s profile on seniorclassaward.com, the player takes part in many opportunities to give back, including the Special Olympics, Feed My Starving Children and Baylor soccer summer camp.
“We learn from Marci, and we learn from other spiritual leaders that you leave this life with nothing,” Ludlow said. “It’s important to give back and it’s important to not be selfish and self-centered because that’s the way God wants us to live.”
College is demanding by itself. Add being an athlete to an already full schedule and it can seem nearly impossible to balance it all. Classes all morning, three hour practices, long weekends of traveling and finding time to sleep somewhere in the midst of it all is the life of a collegiate athlete.
Ludlow carries a 3.73 GPA into her senior year and is a health sciences major concentrating on pre-physical therapy.
“You have to find time. It’s lots of coffee and just finding time before and after practice to put aside to study,” Ludlow said.
Creating a balance between athletics and academics can be a difficult task, but keeping that balance when the team travels is tough. Ludlow explained that on the road there are more distractions. From focusing on the upcoming game to wanting to bond with teammates, there are plenty of things to pull her away from her studies.
To help her keep focus, she takes skills she’s learned on the field and applies them to her schoolwork.
“I think playing soccer has helped me with my study habits. I don’t think I would be as organized without soccer. It creates a schedule,” Ludlow said.
Ludlow is positive about her team and their ability.
“I think our determination has just grown exponentially over the years,” Ludlow said. “Marci’s attitude, our team, just the components of it, everybody’s so bought into it, especially this year too. It’s just, everybody’s on board to do as best as we can,” Ludlow said.
Baylor soccer is ranked No. 7 in the nation and is undefeated with a 5-0 record so far this season. Jobson credits that to a system they’ve implemented for years, and her girls being “good at what they do.” The core of Jobson’s system is defense.
“Marci always tells us, ‘defense first and the shots will come’,” Ludlow said.
One of the most notable things from the season thus far is how effectively Ludlow and her teammates have kept opponents from taking shots.
“We have a team defense and I think our system plays into that,” Ludlow said. “We have a high-pressure system so, if there’s a breakdown anywhere on the field, you have plenty of girls coming back to try and help that.”
Aside from the current season, Ludlow has showed competitive excellence by helping Baylor’s program set university records, breaking records that she had a hand in setting, such as 0.53 goals against average and helping the team get to their first Big 12 tournament championship.
Ludlow has also received many honors including, Big 12 All-Tournament Team, Second-Team NSCAA All-Central Region, and Second Team All-Big 12.
Every day, Ludlow displays why she is a strong nominee for the 2013 Senior Class Award and feels honored to just have been nominated.
“I’d like to leave a legacy,” Ludlow says.