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My Journey to UJ – Cara Romeike

Cara was runner up in the 2019 NAIA Women’s Wrestling National Championship

In the moments leading up to my final match, looking up to the stands to see friends, professors, classmates, family, and teammates, I couldn’t help but look back on the journey that brought me here.

I transferred to the University of Jamestown on a whim, looking for a second chance to make my wrestling dreams come true. At my first school, I had a seizure during practice and was strongly advised to never participate in a contact sport again. I listened to them and took a year and a half off, where I helped coach, but I wasn’t happy because to me, my identity had been taken away. Anyone who knows me knows that you can’t keep me off the mats. I’m a firm believer that a life without passion is no life at all.

Coming to UJ wasn’t a quick fix to the slump I was in. I even blew out my knee the first year I was here and spent another 6 months without wrestling. However, the biggest thing I noticed about UJ was the kindness and warmth, not of the weather but of the community. I was wrestling, I made friends, and things started to look hopeful again.

However, I still wasn’t seeing the results I knew I was capable of. It was not until Shauna Kemp, her husband Neal, and Dillon Kifer became my coaches that I truly started having the confidence in myself to reach my full potential.

So UJ, students and faculty, anyone who’s reading this, I want to share with you some of the lessons that wrestling has taught me that I think can apply to any normal person, too (we all know wrestlers aren’t normal).

Believe in yourself and your passion, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, too.
Set realistic yet challenging goals, write them down, and have the resilience to push through anything to get yourself there.
Have high expectations for yourself and be self-motivated. Your own thoughts, the negative ones telling you you’re not good enough, are wrong and they’re the biggest thing standing in your way.
My high school coach, Ted Witulski, told me, “Some folks feel the rain while others just get wet.” Experience life and all the emotions that come with it.

The University of Jamestown’s support has provided me with everything I need to be successful with amazing coaches, professors, students, trainers; the list is endless. UJ really is a home away from home to me. Thank you to my coaches especially for dealing with all the tears, heartache, and losses to see the joys and victories. And thank you teammates for bringing happiness to me each and every day.

As I ran out to wrestle my final match as a Jimmie, I was overwhelmed with pride looking to the stands to see so many of you there. Thank You UJ for being part of my journey.

The last thing I’m going to say is:
WHAT UP, IT’S CARA.
(If you know, you know)

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Posted:March 22, 2019


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