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Former Falcon a Slugs advocate

Campus Canvass
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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Politics is her major, and even though it’s not her chosen career path, Megan Wisniewski is getting some hands-on experience that could prove valuable someday. A 2005 graduate of Forest Lake Christian School, Wisniewski is now a senior outside hitter for the UC Santa Cruz women’s volleyball team. She’s also the president of the school’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Like any elected official should, Wisniewski works to solve problems for her constituents — namely those involved in UC Santa Cruz’s athletic programs. Last year the Banana Slugs’ men’s and women’s water polo teams were eliminated due to budget cuts. Wisniewski took up the teams’ cause, serving as a liaison between the teams’ representatives and the school administration. “They got reinstated, which is awesome,” Wisniewski said. “They get at least one more year.” “They’re working long-range to develop more funding,” she added. Also like a politician, Wisniewski has the task of drumming up public support for her cause — namely UC Santa Cruz athletics. She pushes her fellow athletes to check out sports events other than their own and is lobbying for her professors to show up as well. If she can get those two groups to show their school spirit, Wisniewski reasons, “the student body will come out in full force.” “A lot of people don’t even know we have a volleyball team here,” Wisniewski said. “I’m trying to change that with a more supportive atmosphere on campus.” Wisniewski wields clout on the volleyball court as well as in the political arena. A big reason why UC Santa Cruz boasts a 14-5 record, Wisniewski is second on the team in total kills (219) and kills per match (3.00). In a seven-match stretch that started Sept. 16, Wisniewski led the Banana Slugs in kills at least five times, including Wednesday night, when she posted a team-high 11 kills in UC Santa Cruz’s home victory over Holy Names University. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the Pacific Coast Classic Sept. 5-6 in Claremont. The leadership role Wisniewski has on the volleyball team is one of example to her younger teammates. She didn’t play much as a freshman, but is now one of the Banana Slugs’ top hitters. “It made me really appreciate the position I have and know I had to work hard to get there,” Wisniewski said of her time on the bench. “It helped me be more empathetic to my younger teammates. I tell them I’m living proof that if you do work your little tush off and go to practice every day, you will get your opportunity.” UC Santa Cruz is an independent NCAA Division III school whose only losses are to teams that either play in Division II or are ranked in Division III. Wisniewski said she hopes to lead the Banana Slugs to a regional ranking, a playoff berth and possibly a national ranking this season. Although she loves her choice of major — “I like to argue,” she said — Wisniewski’s immediate plans for the future do not involve campaigning for political office. Instead, she wants to attend graduate school at the University of San Francisco and get a master’s degree in sports administration. “My ultimate dream is to become the athletic director at UC Santa Cruz,” she said, “and continue doing what I’m doing now, which is try to improve the athletic department.”