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first_imgAs a three-sport star, Shayla Dvorak wasn’t exactly a couchpotato in high school. Playing volleyball, basketball and running track, Dvorakwas active throughout the year while attending Mishicot High School. Afterwinning her volleyball team’s Pride, Hustle, and Desire Award as a junior andbeing named MVP of the track team as a senior, Dvorak came to Madison lookingat a new sport to try.“I kind of started thinking about it right in the summerbefore I was a freshman and looked it up on the website,” Dvorak said. “And Isaw rowing, and I saw that they had walk-ons, and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe Ishould try out for that. There’s no way it can be that hard.’”Little did she know Wisconsin crew would be one of thetoughest undertakings of her life.“I signed up at SOAR and came down to the meeting and (coachBebe Bryans) was there and said, ‘This is going to be the hardest thing youwill ever do, I promise,’” Dvorak said.Despite Dvorak’s initial underestimation of the sport,Bryans noted something right away about the walk-on.“She was pretty fierce, right from the beginning,” Bryanssaid. “I think, her freshman year, she lived here (at the boathouse). She had agreat work ethic.”  Sure enough, through her hard work, Dvorak has blossomedinto the captain of Wisconsin’s B boat. The role of captain is not somethingnew to her, however. With six younger siblings in her family, Dvorak has takento leadership roles throughout her life. In addition to being the oldest child,she has tutored other students in school since she was younger and also hascoached in summer sports camps.“Everyone has different wants and needs and interests, stufflike that, so that dynamic in coming to rowing as a team captain is really coolbecause it has really helped me problem solve and help people get betterbecause I can use my past experience,” Dvorak said.“She tends to be inclusive of people,” Bryans said. “Onething that she’s been able to help lead seniors with is that nurturing thewhole team instead of holding anyone down and just holding everyone up.”Although Dvorak is clearly a leader, she is verysoft-spoken, far from an in-your-face, out-loud captain.“She was pretty quiet,” Bryans said of Dvorak. “She’ssteady, incredibly steady. That’s an incredibly important quality.”“I think I’m pretty competitive,” Dvorak said. “I probablycome across as… not? Until you get to know me, I’ll get pretty comfortable, andthen I get competitive, especially this time of year. But yeah, I probably comeacross as not, at first.”Though relatively quiet, there is no question Dvorak has a positiveeffect on her team and definitely deserves her captain’s status on the B boat.“I think she has a pretty high standard of what she wantsthe team to accomplish,” Bryans said. “She’s willing to stand up to people touphold the standard that everyone decided they wanted, and that is whatleadership is.”Bryans even went as far as to say that one of the words shemost closely relates to Dvorak is “fierce.”Obviously, the results don’t lie. In competition over theweekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., the UW women’s openweight crew took second placein the Big Ten Championships, improving from their fifth place finish last yearat the same event. The boat Dvorak rowed in took first place in their finalsrace Saturday afternoon, beating the second place nationally ranked Ohio Stateboat by just under a second. Wisconsin is well on its way to finishing wellthis season, Dvorak’s last.“I have a lot of Wisconsin pride. I dreamt about being aBadger my whole life,” Dvorak said of her time as a Wisconsin rower. “Thehistory of Wisconsin rowing is one of the best parts. It’s really cool to justbe a part of that.”last_img read more

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