The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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Adapting and Achieving

Senior Ugne Aleksaite overcomes adversity and sets herself up for a future in bowling.
Adapting+and+Achieving
Hannah Barczak

Some athletes allow adversity to get in the way of their goals and stop them from doing something that they love. Ugne Aleksaite, a senior at Antioch Community High School, shows a different level of determination and dedication on the playing field. 

 

Growing up, Aleksaite was involved in multiple sports. She loved to play volleyball and soccer. However, in seventh grade, her athletic career ended with an unfortunate ankle injury.  Due to her injury, the momentum from running often causes her pain. The impact and the pressure that it puts on her ankle has caused her to be unable to walk for one to two weeks at a time. This makes most sports very challenging to participate in. Since this causes her pain, Aleksaite has stopped playing these sports and found other ways to fill that void.  

 

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Aleksaite did not let this challenge stop her from finding something that she was passionate about. Since she is not able to participate in cardio driven activities, she took it upon herself to find other activities that were more suitable for her. She was open to trying new things and pushing herself to thrive in new ways. 

 

When Aleksaite first moved to Antioch, she was not participating in any activities and did not have any strong connections to make her feel at home. However, eventually she was ready to try something new. Her drive and willingness to try new things allowed her to find herself a great fit. Ugne is now an active team member in Antioch Community High School’s golf and bowling teams. 

 

“I wanted to try something new since I couldn’t really do any running sports,” senior Ugne Aleksaite said. “So I decided to try out for the bowling team just for fun.” 

 

Aleksaites’ decision to take on a new challenge gave her an amazing new opportunity. She does not let the fear of failure stand in her way and stop her from accomplishing great things. 

 

“Ugne is always willing to try whatever random thing that I’m asking her to do,” head coach Whitney Walsh said. “And is willing to try it more than once.” 

 

Aleksaite understands the hardwork and the commitment it takes to develop and grow new skills in her sport. Contrary to most beliefs about bowling, it is very different from playing a leisurely game. 

 

“The house balls that you throw when you go bowling with your friends are very different from the equipment that competitive bowlers are throwing,” Walsh said.

 

The technical side of bowling competitively is often not understood. From the way that the balls are made to glide, to the oil that is placed on the lanes, there are substantial differences between the sport and the leisurely game. However, Aleksaite is willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to understand the game and how to make changes based on the conditions of the lanes and based on how the match is going. 

 

“She’s really honed in [the] skills to understand how the ball is going to move in different conditions,” Walsh said. “[She knows when] she needs to change what she has to do to make those shots.”

 

One thing that really makes Aleksaite stand out is her personality. She is constantly encouraging others and tries to keep a positive outlook in every situation. Aleksaite shows great character and people enjoy being around her. 

 

“[She is] a kind, fun person who is pretty easygoing and funny,” art teacher Stephan Pfautz said. “And it’s fun to be around.”

 

Outside of bowling, Aleksaite spends time with her friends and family. However, most of her time is dedicated to forwarding her athletic and academic career. She is committed to maintaining her grades while pushing herself with learning new skills. While she remains positive, balancing being a student and an athlete can often become a little challenging at times. Being a student-athlete is a great and honorable accomplishment, however it does mean having a very busy schedule. When athletes must head straight to practices immediately after school, that leaves little time for homework when they get home. 

 

“A lot of work piles up,” Aleksaite said. “And then I have to try my best to catch up.”

 

This can be especially overwhelming when athletes have to leave early during the school day for matches or tournaments. Student-athletes, such as Aleksaite, must take additional time over a busy weekend in order to maintain their grades and stay caught up on work.  However, Aleksaite puts her best effort into making sure that she can get all of her work done so that she is able to play in every match.

 

“If you really love your sport you’re gonna try your best to actually be eligible,” Aleksaite said. 

 

 Due to the effort that Aleksaite puts into her athletic career, as well as her academic career, she has shown extreme growth in her skills. Remaining eligible allows her to continue working towards new goals in the game. 

 

“Last year [she] bowled some of the highest games ever and almost bowled a perfect game,” Pfautz said. “And it was pretty awesome”. 

 

Aleksaite hopes to move forward in her athletic career and play at the college level. 

Friends, family and fans are excited about the progress that Aleksaite has shown and can not wait to see how far her skills will take her. 

 

“She has all of the tools that she needs, if that’s something that she wants to pursue,” Walsh said.

 

Her mother is her number one supporter and attends every match possible. Regardless of the situation, her mother always tries to make sure that she can make the time to be there for her daughter. This support drives Aleksaite to push herself beyond her limits and reach her full potential. 

 

Aleksaite has a strong support system standing behind her. While fans may expect bowling to be a quiet sport, it is quite the opposite. The entire team supports each other in incredible and unexpected ways by cheering each other on getting loud for their teammates. 

 

 Be sure to keep an eye out for Aleksaite this season and follow along to see where the future will lead her.

 

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About the Contributors
Kylie Christenson, Tom Tom Staff
Kylie Christenson is a senior at Antioch and this is her first year on staff. Between school, work and cheer, she has very little free time. When she is not busy, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, as well as listening to music.
Hannah Barczak, Visual Director
Hannah Barczak is a senior this is her fourth year on staff as well as her second year as the Visual Director on the Executive Board of the Tom Tom.  Along with her interest in media, this will be her fourth year as an ACHS cheerleader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking pictures, and traveling during her free time. Barczak is excited to make the most of her senior year.
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