March 19, 2014
Editor's note: This article also appears on the Big 12 website, click here.
by Emily McMillan, Big 12 Campus Correspondent
MANHATTAN, Kan.- Senior Allison Dorau, three-sport athlete from Lenexa, Kan., is one of the leaders and most decorated athletes on the K-State rowing squad.
Upon graduating from Shawnee Mission West High School in 2009, Dorau had her heart set on competing for the Wildcats despite having no prior experience in rowing.
“Well I did not have any experience [with rowing] coming out of high school. I had done basketball, soccer, and cross country in high school, so I did not know anything about it before I came out for a recruiting visit,” Dorau said. “I was kind of set on coming to K-State, and rowing kind of fit in to that plan.”
Since joining the Wildcats, the senior has exemplified the academic side of being a student-athlete. She has been on the Big 12 Commissioner`s Honor Roll six times, and is a three-time recipient of the Conference USA Commissioner`s Academic Medal.
Dorau`s academic achievement is a great motivator for her on the water.
“I feel like it goes hand-and-hand like when I am motivated to do well in sports, I am also motivated to do well in school,” Dorau said. “I just like to challenge myself and hold myself to the high standard of achieving. Not only the standard at practice, but also in the classroom.”
The pressure of school and being a Division I athlete has not hurt Dorau in the classroom or in the heat of competition.
“Every challenge you give her, she has risen to it, she has met it, and grown beyond it,” said head coach Pat Sweeney. “Every time she has been challenged, there has been nothing but improvement.”
Dorau, in her three-year career at K-State, has found plenty of success on the water. She has been a fixture on the Wildcats’ top Varsity 4 and 8 boats, while also being named to the All-Big 12 and All-Conference USA first teams in 2013. This past season also saw Dorau become only the seventh Wildcat to be named to the CRCA All-Central Region team.
Sweeney said she has shown herself to be a leader by example.
“[Allison] is a really good athlete and has shown a lot of it by example,” Sweeney said. “She comes in, she trains well, she performs well, and she holds herself well. For her it is more of how she appears, not so much the vocal, but ‘this is how you should look like, this is how you should do it.’”
Sweeney added that the senior’s hard work and passion has set the standard for which many of her fellow rowers can take the lead from.
“She is the standard that they should all try to achieve,” Sweeney said. “Where she came in and what she has gotten herself to, she has just done everything right.”
Sophomore Madi Haney is one of several younger rowers who has been greatly influenced by the leadership qualities of Dorau.
“I have seen her as a leader just by what she does. She always does what she needs to do, and that is something to look up to,” Haney said. “Like I said, she always works hard. So I know she is always going to give it her all, which is going to make me want to give my all.”
The way Sweeney sees it, Dorau’s success in the classroom motivates her in rowing.
“The more pressure that comes on her over the years, she has actually dealt with it quite well. Plus, on the academic side of it, she has gotten better,” Sweeney said. “If you just look at what she`s got, it has always improved. There has never been a dip.”
The high standard that Dorau holds herself to, as well as her innate competitive nature, only motivates her teammates to perform better in every facet of being a student-athlete.
“I have such a competitive mindset that I have to always have to beat someone, so it does overlap into the classroom. I am like, I cannot let someone beat me in an assignment,” Dorau said. “I think they kind of go together. It just keeps me motivated at practice and in the classroom as well.”
For Haney, Dorau’s example has not only had a positive effect for the team, but someone the rowers look to follow in the footsteps of once they take the leadership roles on the team.
“I would say she has had a very positive impact on me,” Haney said. “She has been the person who I look up to the most on the team I think. I am always competing with her; it has always been my motto to stay with Allison. She has been like a role model to me for what I need to do.”