In addition to finding success on the field, many Kenyon athletes are equally successful in the classroom. For some, this combination of athletic and scholastic achievement can lead to recognition from their sports’ governing organizations.
In February, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association recognized Emma Becker ’22 and teammate Anna Harnsberger ’23 as All-Academic Athletes. While the entire Kenyon cross-country program was selected as an All-Academic Team, Becker and Harnsberger received special commendation for their GPAs of at least 3.1 and for finishing in the top 25% in the regional championship meet. In December, Luke Muther ’23 was named to the Scholar All-America team by the United Soccer Coaches. In order to receive this honor, Muther achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4, played in a minimum of 75% of the Lords’ games and received a nomination from a coach.
While Becker may be better known for her roles on the cross-country and track teams, she is also a biochemistry major with an English minor. Additionally, Becker has represented Kenyon twice at the NCAA Cross Country Championship meet, most recently taking home a 104th-place finish at that race (22:29.7) in November.
In addition to majoring in physics with a concentration in scientific computing, Muther has racked up many accolades for his role on the men’s soccer team. In his senior season, he was named to the All-NCAC, All-Region and All-America teams. As a midfielder and defender, Muther, who played 1385 minutes this season, had a major role in the Lords’ staunch defense, which allowed a goals-against average of 0.730.
Both Becker and Muther described time management as the most difficult part of being a student-athlete. Becker said that it can be difficult to balance all of her commitments while finding time to take care of herself, but that the chance to share experiences with her teammates has been rewarding. “You feel like you’re getting to grow as people together,” she said. Muther echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of building connections. “The most rewarding part of being on the soccer team is seeing the success of my teammates, both on and off the field,” he added.
As their Kenyon careers come to a close over the coming seasons, Becker and Muther both reflected on the opportunities they’ve had to pursue their passions and find their niches on campus. In spite of the pressures of his schedule, Muther said he was able to develop stronger friendships, while also thoroughly committing himself to his interests. “It also has not given me much more time to focus on anything other than school and sports, but I have no regrets about spending all my time on these activities,” he said.
Becker said participating actively in athletics and academics helped her to develop passions, but she also credits the programs she has found at Kenyon for helping her find her love for chemistry and running. “I would never have realized how much I loved chemistry if it hadn’t been for the intro classes I took here, and I know that I wouldn’t have nearly as much motivation to run if I didn’t have the chance to compete with my teammates every weekend,” she said.
As advice to younger student-athletes, both Becker and Muther emphasized the importance of finding value in all aspects of the Kenyon experience. “My advice would be to make sure you have a healthy perspective on the balance between school life, athletic life and social life,” Becker said. Becker and Muther both exemplify the power of pursuing passions at Kenyon in order to create lasting memories and relationships.