Kate Kadrmas smiles for a portrait.
Kate Kadrmas smiles for a portrait.

When Kate Kadrmas laces up her sneakers for the heptathlon, she knows she has plenty to compete against.

With seven events in two days, she has a lot to do. Kadrmas’ friends describe her as a strong feminist who will also fight for women’s rights and equal treatment.

The freshman biochemistry and forensic science double major understands that she has a lot on her plate but said she is ready to take it all on.

Kadrmas said this mentality has been with her ever since she was young when her dad would ask her “Why not you?”

She has always been close with her dad she said he would remind her that if it wasn’t her reaching the goal, someone would do it.

She said she grew up watching the US women’s soccer team and female track athletes. These athletes and the mentality she got from her father instilled a passion in her, which pushes her just a bit more to compete.

“I’m always busy,” she said. “I like to be busy, though, because I feel like I’m wasting time if I’m not doing something.”

Teammate Shannon Wurtele said she has watched Kadrmas dedicate hours to recovering from her injury, stress reactions in her shins because they both know her potential.

It’s not hard for her to fill her schedule, though. Her double major keeps her going most of the time with homework and difficult classes.

“Kate is determined,” her friend Abby Heffner said. “She has big goals for her career.”

Kadrmas said she wants to be a pediatric oncologist, but she has realized the Olympic year would be during her gap year between school and work, so it could be a possibility.

But Kadrmas admitted she is in a similar boat as many freshmen on campus.

“I don’t know my future,” she said.

She said she is not focusing too much on the Olympic idea quite yet, though.

“I’m more educationally based,” she said.

She gives sports credit for many of the things she has learned over the past few years.

She said she has learned how to work on a team, how to instill confidence in herself and how to become a strong leader through her time in athletics.

Heffner, who is also an athlete on the cross country team and Kadrmas’ roommate, said she has grown to love Kadrmas.

“She spends a lot more time than me studying, which is good for her,” Heffner said. “But we’ve gotten to know each other really well and she’s fun to be around.”

This is how Wurtele sees her as well. The two have different events so they practice separately, but she sees Kadramas as a fighter.

Kadrmas said she has found balance in her life through her sports both in things she has learned and in her personality.

She said she has seen other athletes that believe they are cooler than everyone else, but she hasn’t adopted this mentality.

“I don’t think I’m better than anyone else,” she said. “I do get special perks.”

Wurtele said she loves this about Kadrmas.

“She knows her potential,” Wurtele said. “But the first things I think of when I think of Kate are her smile and how giggly and friendly she is.”

I'm a senior Journalism major from Papillion, Nebraska.