KINGS POINT, N.Y. (April 1, 2019) – To celebrate NCAA Division III Week, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) caught up with some of the top senior student-athletes at the Academy to find out why they chose to compete at the Division III level at USMMA. Our first spotlight of "#D3Week" is with volleyball's senior captain Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.).
Lefler helped lead the Mariners to the 2017 Skyline Tournament Championship and 2018 Skyline Regular Season Championship. She was the Academy record-holder for kills per set during the 2017 season and was named to the Second Team All-Skyline. In 2018, she was selected by the Skyline coaches to the First Team All-Skyline.
Off the court, Lefler has served as Platoon Commander for Fourth Company.
What made you choose to come to the Academy?
I decided to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy because I was drawn to the sense of service, comradery, and discipline that is ever-present at Kings Point. What immediately caught my attention when considering Kings Point was the amount of opportunities that all midshipmen have while both at school, and after graduation. I knew that this would be a place that would change my future for the better, and would develop me into the student, athlete, and leader that I wanted to become.
What have you learned while here?
From day zero at USMMA, I have learned at least one thing a day. From the start, there are people investing in you and directing you down the right path. In the past few years here I have learned what type of leader I would strive to be, and what leadership traits are not ones to emulate. Additionally I have learned the importance of always striving to do what is right, even though it may be the hardest option. It is extremely humbling to be able to look at where I was as a Plebe to now, only a few months away from graduating. I could not be more thankful for what I have learned through playing volleyball, being a part of the Regiment and in the classroom.
What has been the best part of being a Division III student-athlete?
One of my favorite quotes is "grow where you are planted." That phrase has been one that I really dwelled on coming into Kings Point as a volleyball player. Being a Division III student-athlete has provided me the opportunity to do just that. I have been given the opportunity as Captain of the Women's Volleyball team to work closely with each player to develop them as leaders, and mentor them on a personal level that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do had I not been here. Additionally, I have the opportunity to work with other sports' captains to try to improve the athletic community at Kings Point every day. The chance to compete and play the game that I love, while developing relationships and getting the opportunity to mentor others, has been a complete blessing and has made me very thankful to be a DIII athlete at Kings Point.
How has being a Division III Athlete prepared you for your future? What's next for you?
Being a Division III Athlete at Kings Point has helped me to sharpen the traits that I believe will be crucial to my success after I graduate in June. Through competing here I have increased discipline, time-management, tact, confidence, and I have grown to approach every challenge with an open and positive mind. Much like any game I have played on the volleyball court, I know that in life it's anyone's game and that through working hard you can achieve more than you know. Up next, the big mountain to climb is passing license and graduating with the rest of the Class of 2019 in June. After that, well we will see where I get to grow next.
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