MILWAUKEE — The next time your college student says he or she is too busy, you may want to bring up the story of a true standout at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Meet Steph Kostowicz, and it’s hard not to ask a simple question: Is it ever too much?
“Not yet! I haven’t gotten to that point. Hopefully I won’t,” Kostowicz said.
The UWM sophomore from Oak Creek set a school record in shot put at the Horizon League Outdoor Championships. This, on the heels of being named “First Team All-Conference” as the Panthers leading scorer and rebounder in basketball — and participating at a high level in two different sports isn’t even really why she’s in school.
“I’m going to be a nurse for the rest of my life, so sports is just right now. It’s what I’m going to do with my future that’s why I’m really here, so I think it’s important to keep in mind what the main goal is,” Kostowicz said.
Kostowicz was named to the Horizon League’s “All-Academic Women’s Basketball” team thanks to her 3.89 grade point average in addition to her points per game average. She enjoys the team aspect of that sport, particularly with the improving Panthers program. Track and field is a much more individual pursuit.
“I think the speed I’ve gained from basketball has definitely helped me in it. A shot put is a little eight-pound ball and pretty much, you don’t want to throw it. That’s why it’s called a put, so you have to flick it. It’s not like throwing a baseball, which a lot of people try to do. A discus is kind of like a heavy frisbee, but you don’t throw it like a frisbee. You have to have your hand over it, so it’s all about motion and momentum,” Kostowicz said.
Given the demands on her time, Kostowicz is all kinds of places, like the weight room, the strength and conditioning center for athletes, the Klotsche Center where the women’s basketball team plays its games, Sandburg Hall, where Kostowicz lives, the library, considering she’s “All-Academic,” the UWM Student Union for a little social time, nursing stuff at Cunningham Hall, and track stuff off-campus.
“Be balanced, make a planner, stay on top of what you need to do. School comes first,” Kostowicz said.
It isn’t unprecedented for an athlete to compete in two sports at UWM, but it is extremely rare to have one stand out in both as much as Kostowicz does. She is obviously a leader — evidenced by her being named captain of the basketball team as a sophomore, the first time her coach has ever chosen an underclassman for that honor.