CAS junior balances basketball, karate

Kyle Luther, Staff Writer

Many athletes at NYU could not imagine playing more than one sport per semester while keeping up with school work. That is not the case for CAS junior Maya Wasowicz, who plays for both the NYU basketball team and the USA Senior Karate National Team.

Growing up in New York, the economics major attended Beacon High School and made the National Karate team in her senior year. She also played on the basketball team all four years and was captain during her junior and senior years. Wasowicz ended her high school career as the program’s all-time leading scorer.

In the first four games of this season, Wasowicz has averaged eight points, 16 minutes and 2.3 rebounds per game. While she said she does not practice karate during the basketball season as much as she would like, she still balances sports and a full class load.

“I try to set up my class schedule in a way where I could practice both basketball and karate,” Wasowicz said. “I played basketball and did karate in high school as well so I kind of just got used to managing school work. To me, it’s actually easier to do school work when I have a busy schedule.”

Wasowicz started karate when she was 13, and by 16 she had made the Junior USA Team. She is also a black belt at the Goshin Ryu Shotokan Karate school. In July, she secured a spot on the 2014 team and qualified to participate in the World Karate Championships in Bremen, Germany.

All other athletes on the U.S. team had one or two matches, but Wasowicz competed in five. Wasowicz said she had a lot of support from her team, coach and family.

“My sensei, Luis Ruiz, along with our Elite Team at my dojo, showed up every day to practice for me,” she said. “They all made sure I was as ready as I could be for this competition. A lot of my family from Poland came to watch me fight. I had a great coach in my corner. In a way, I was doing it for all of them too.”

Wasowicz said she intends to continue her karate career after college.

“I definitely plan on going back to the World Championships and coming home with a medal,” she said.

Although her ambition and talent have taken her to international heights, Wasowicz has remained true to her roots.

“I wanted to stay close to home,” she said on her decision to attend NYU. “I knew I wanted to continue doing karate and I didn’t want to leave my dojo.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 25 print edition. Email Kyle at [email protected].