November 2013

Issue link: http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/202818

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 56

From Sophomore Walk-On to Senior Captain By Chris Brewer S hannon Maser was never recruited to run at the University of Iowa. She never took an official visit, never met the coach, never peaked behind the curtain of Division I athletics. Maser received the warning, welcomed the challenge, and exploited the opportunity. What's happened since is a testament to Anderson's "fairly liberal" walk-on policy. But after one year on campus, the UI sophomore was ready to add to her studies and explore other opportunities, so she made a pitch to become a Hawkeye. "During her early workouts I would never have thought to race her anywhere but the home meets," said Anderson. "But she works hard, doesn't complain, and encourages others. She's a perfect example for every student-athlete." Maser sat down with UI head coach Layne Anderson one day during the summer of 2011 and expressed a desire to compete for a team. Anderson had two responses. The first was a warning. The second was an opportunity. "With some people you have to say, 'Hey this is not the place for you,'" said Anderson. "But sitting and talking with Shannon, you could tell she was down to earth. She was a nice, responsible young lady, and she wanted an opportunity." Maser said there were no guarantees or false promises exchanged during the conversation. She was told few walk-ons know what they're getting themselves in to, and even fewer stick around beyond the first few weeks. The only thing she did know was that she would be afforded a chance. "He said we're not going to give you the same things we give everyone else because a lot of the people that walk-on simply don't make it," recalled Maser. "He said you'll have to prove to me that you want to take this seriously, that you actually want to run for us and contribute to this team." Maser's times will probably never score big points at a conference championship. She may never qualify for an NCAA meet. But with attitude and effort, she grabbed headlines when her teammates named her team captain for the 2014 track and field season. "That speaks to the notion that your team captain doesn't always have to be your best runner," said Anderson. "They can be individuals that lead the group in a variety of ways, and if more people had the perspective and approach of a Shannon Maser, we could rewrite the Iowa record book." Maser is still a walk-on, but she said she doesn't think about that status anymore, and she wouldn't change her path for anything. "Scholarship or not, none of that matters," said Maser. "What matters is how hard you work, how much you want it, and what success means to you. "I don't think I knew when I joined the team how much it was going to change my life, and I would never take back this decision for anything. Today when I have success I think about everything that I've had to sacrifice. It's so rewarding and it's been absolutely worth it." 23

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of HAWK TALK - November 2013