Tanner Howard Wins "Shero" Essay Contest

Feb. 3, 2006

In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, area sixth grade students were invited to participate in the “SHERO” essay contest identifying a female athlete that has made a positive impact in their life. A committee comprised of Kansas athletics staff and student-athletes determined the winner. The third place winner was Alice Barnes for her essay “Ms. Wilson” about her P.E. teacher at Wakarusa Valley Elementary. The runner up is Morgan Wilson for her essay “My Inspiration” a tribute to her grandmother. The winner of the contest is Tanner Howard for her essay “My Cousin Jennifer” about Jennifer Myers, an assistant Rowing Coach here at KU.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

My Cousin Jennifer

1st place, “SHERO” essay contest

As a young girl playing sports, I have used and needed lots of encouragement and help. For my paper, I decided to choose my cousin Jennifer. She is a big role model to me because she was very successful in her sport. When she was in college, she was on the KU women’s rowing team. Now, she is an adult and she is the coach for the KU women’s rowing team.

My cousin had lots of encouragement. She had to practice every morning at 5:00 a.m. Her dad took her EVERY morning. To be a rower it is not easy physically or mentally. She said that she never struggled mentally but it was hard physically. Rowing takes lots of upper body strength and leg muscle. She had to work out a lot to stay in good shape. It took a lot of encouragement to keep going and to not give up.

As a young athlete she said her coaches were SO helpful and supportive. Jennifer had some coaches that she didn’t like but just kept on going and didn’t let it bother her. None of her coaches inspired her to be a coach but she said that she tries to compare her coaching to theirs to make her the best coach possible.

In rowing, you cannot do it on your own. You need teammates. Jennifer has a best friend from rowing that she still talks to and does things with. In sports, teammates are very important. They encourage you, help you, and will always give you a helping hand. When you meet your teammates, get to know them and start a friendship because you’ll be with them for quite a while. When you are going through a hard time they can support you since they understand the situation a little bit better.

I have a lot of inspiration, but Jennifer is the best one because rowing is an extremely hard sport to do. I will always look up to her for her success as a woman athlete. People may not have given her the support that men get, but she succeeded anyway.

Submitted by:

Tanner Howard

Wakarusa Valley Elementary School

Ms. Sarah Johnson’s class