Scholar Athlete: Cathedral senior balances sports with extra activities
Published 12:05 am Thursday, November 20, 2014
NATCHEZ — Between applying for scholarships at LSU and Rice University, executing a post move for the Cathedral Lady Green Wave, sticking her landing on a dance move and serving as the president of her school’s Key Club, Ayu Kumi keeps a busy schedule.
At the end of the day, Kumi is working toward a goal of becoming a biomedical engineer.
“It’s so worth it,” said the Cathedral senior of her heavy workload.
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Kumi is one of the few juniors last year who can say they were the first to serve in the Youth Leadership Natchez program last year, assisting the new class of juniors this year on top of maintaining a 4.1 GPA, working steadily to improve as an athlete in basketball and tennis and taking the time to hang out with friends. Enjoying her senior year was important to Kumi, and that’s why she decided to try out for the dance team for the first time in her high school career.
“I wanted to do something fun for my senior year,” Kumi said. “I thought, ‘Whatever, I’m going to branch out.’”
The addition of dancing has extended Kumi’s day, giving her two hours of dance practice after she gets out of class at 3 p.m., followed by an hour and 15 minutes of practice time on the court. Of course, Kumi doesn’t end her day at 6:30 p.m., but instead spends two more hours studying to maintain her high academic status.
Don’t let her smarts or elegance and grace on the dance team fool you, though. Cathedral head coach Randy Smith can tell you about a more fierce side. In fact, Smith has Kumi in an enforcer role in the paint.
“She’s the toughest girl we have,” Smith said. “We never have any problems out of her. She’s a tenacious girl, not afraid of putting her body on somebody. We put her on the hardest people to guard down low.”
Smith said Kumi is more than just brute strength in the paint for his team. Her athleticism is exhibited on the floor in her ability to rebound and “take it coast to coast.” Playing point guard might be a little beyond her abilities, though.
“I ran it in practice one time and it didn’t work out too well,” Kumi said, laughing.
As a senior at Cathedral, Kumi has many identities that keep her busy, striving for excellence. It’s rewarding for her to receive acknowledgement from her peers, who were all quick to point out Kumi’s smarts at practice Wednesday.
“I guess it’s good that people notice your strengths,” Kumi said. “It’s good to know what you’re good at, so you can lean on it the rest of your life.”