MARQUETTE – Six United States Olympic Education Center athletes will partake in Northern Michigan University’s commencement and receive their diplomas on Saturday, April 30.
Women’s freestyle wrestler Laura Conway (Traverse City, Mich.) will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English and health education. She plans on teaching several classes while training for the next year then moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. to continue training.
“I knew I would only be here for two years, so I tried to take advantage of the training and classes. I have had an amazing experience,” said Conway, “I am leaving here with a good, solid base. The coaches have been so helpful and caring.”
Conway was recognized for completing the Superior Edge, fulfilling at least 100 hours in each of the following categories, citizenship, leadership, diversity, and real-world. She also received the Michigan Campus Heat and Soul award for her dedication to community service.
Amber Miracle (Berlin, Wis.), a USOEC freestyle wrestler of four years, will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Miracle is taking a break from the sport, for at least the summer, to move back home, focusing on her accounting career.
“One impact that the USOEC had on my life is that I have been able to train all over the world. It has taught me to be very resilient and organized, how to balance being a full time student and training full time,” said Miracle, “It gave me the opportunity to follow my dream even if the dream has changed.”
Ben Sanchez (Leominster, Mass.), a Greco-Roman wrestler will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in construction management. Sanchez will remain in Marquette until the Olympic Trials before returning home to spend time with his family. He will continue to pursue his goals of making the Olympic and World team by moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. where he will become a resident athlete.
“The USOEC allowed me to form a base to train in Greco-Roman and allowed me to earn an education,” said Sanchez, “If it wouldn’t have been for the combined program I would not have been able to train.”
Five-year USOEC Greco-Roman wrestler Marco Toledo (Foley, Ala.) will graduate from NMU with a bachelor’s degree in sports science. After graduation, Toledo will enter into a sports science master’s program either at NMU or in Colorado Springs, Colo. where he can train to make the Olympic or World team.
“It was a great experience to train at the USOEC and through three coaches,” said Toledo, “They have all influenced my future plans in regards to wrestling.”
Receiving her master’s degree in exercise science, Breanne Carlson (Peshtigo, Wis.) plans on focusing on her weightlifiting training for the next five years while working on her Ph.D. She hopes to compete at the Olympic Trials and become a teacher.
“Training at the USOEC was phenomenal. I loved training with all the athletes. It is going to be hard trying to find somewhere else to train, I loved Marquette,” said Carlson.
After weightlifiting at the USEOC for two years, Sara Cowles (Daytona Beach, Fla.) will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public administration. Cowles plans on taking a year off of weightlifting due to injuries and to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. Five years from now, Cowles can see herself working in the political field and married with a family.
“I never thought I would move to Marquette or even continue weightlifting past high school. The USOEC took me from someone who thought of weightlifting as a hobby to an elite athlete. I became a part of the most unique and intricate communities here at the USOEC,” said Cowles, “Everything about this place has changed me and I will be forever grateful.”