By Benjamin Wideman
Director of Communications and Sports Information
MANITOWOC — It’s hard to miss Amanda Kudick on a basketball court.
No, she’s not the tallest player. Nor is she trying to pull off highlight-reel plays every time she has the ball.
Rather, the 5-foot-7 sophomore draws attention from teammates and opponents alike because of her unbridled effort on every play and pure passion for winning. With Kudick’s help last season, the Silver Lake College women’s basketball team recorded its most wins (18) in school history and extended its streak of winning seasons to four.
“She has a real heart and passion for the game,” said Mike Flentje, entering his seventh season as the Lakers’ head coach. “She’s more than just a good player. She has real competitiveness and leadership and a desire to win. She’s the type of player every coach wants.”
As Silver Lake College prepares for its season-opening games Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at the Tip-Off Classic at UW-Fond du Lac, Kudick is gearing up to improve upon last year’s impressive freshman campaign.
Buoyed by back-to-back WIAA Division 3 state championships at Kewaunee High School, Kudick picked up where she left off, leading the Lakers last season in steals (2.6 per game) and assists (2.4 per game), while ranking second in rebounds (6.2 per game) and fourth in points (8.3 per game).
“I’ve always been a leader on the court,” said Kudick, a swing player who embraces her role as team captain. “I came from a winning program, and I know how to win. I know a lot about the game. I’m used to the pressure situations, and I’m comfortable being in that leadership position. I want to help us win as many games as possible this season.”
The Lakers’ goal is to win at least 20 games, which would give them a strong chance at qualifying for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s national championships. Last season, they narrowly missed out on earning a bid.
“With the schedule we have this season, it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going for it,” Flentje said. “And Amanda is one of those players we’re looking at to lead us through a successful season.”
Kudick, who can play any position, drove to the basket frequently last season. This past offseason, she worked on improving her outside shooting.
“With the passion she has, she always works hard to keep on improving. She’s just a true athlete (who also plays soccer and tennis),” Flentje said.
Added Kudick: “I come from a program (in Kewaunee) where you worked your butt off all the time. I push myself to improve every day, and as the captain now I think coach is looking at me to push the girls too.”
Plenty of Kudick’s motivation comes from within. Some of it, however, derives from people like her brothers, grandparents, parents and former coach.
Born and raised in Kewaunee as the youngest of four siblings, Kudick said she had to fight — sometimes literally — for respect from her three older brothers (Kyle, Shane and Jason).
“My older brothers would always pick on me, and I’d definitely have to stand up for myself,” she said. “Kyle, especially, he’s the one who’s closest in age to me. He played sports and I looked up to him and wanted to be like him.”
Two other motivational people in Kudick’s life are her grandmother, Audrey Repitz, and her grandfather, Ken Repitz, who passed away in 2011.
“Every time we’d win I’d tell my grandma and grandpa,” Kudick said. “They wouldn’t get to go to the games, but I’d always call them and tell them how we did. My grandpa is one of my motivations right now. Even though he’s not here, I want to win and make him proud.”
The same goes for her grandmother.
“That’s why I wear bright shoes, so she knows which one is me on the court when she comes to the games,” Kudick said. “I’m just huge with family. That’s my motivation in life.”
Her parents, Russ and Cindy, also have served as inspirations. “They were always bringing me to camps, and I wanted to get better and make them proud,” Kudick said.
She also values the coaching she received from Kari Heim, who taught her the ins and outs of basketball from elementary school up until high school. “She taught us dedication and how to win in the big games,” Kudick said.
Kudick, an Elementary Education major, is the first sibling in her family to attend college. She hopes to teach in Kewaunee after she graduates.
Despite being active in sports throughout her childhood, Kudick didn’t idolize professional athletes. Rather, teachers were the Michael Jordan of her youth.
“I looked up to them a lot,” she said. “My third-grade teacher (Barbara Lockwood) was like my role model in life. Sports were there and I loved doing them, but there’s so much more that was important to me besides sports. Like piano — I played piano all through high school, too.”
When it came time to select a college, Kudick said Silver Lake College was a natural fit. It was relatively close to home, she could continue playing sports and it offered smaller class sizes with more personalized attention, she said. Plus, she received an athletic scholarship to help offset part of the tuition cost.
When she’s not playing one of her three sports, attending classes or studying, Kudick serves as a residence assistant on campus. She also works for the Silver Lake College athletic department and helps at the reception desk at the campus’ Franciscan Center for Music Education and Performance.
“I’ve got a lot of things I’m doing, but I’m very dedicated,” she said. “Whenever I do something, I’m dedicated 100 percent to it.”