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Ten Questions with Melanie Aptaker

Mar 08, 2018 • by Kutztown University
Melanie Aptaker

KUTZTOWN, Pa.During the spring semester, Kutztown University will feature a variety of student-athletes in order to get an inside look on their everyday lives. Articles will not only focus on their athletic performance, but what they do outside of competition. This week’s feature is senior Melanie Aptaker from the women’s bowling team.Aptaker is not only an exceptional athlete, but a student as well. As a member of the bowling team here at Kutztown University, Aptaker knows that balancing both academics and athletics is key to being successful. She recognizes that bowling takes a lot more precision and skill than most people realize.”A lot of people think you just throw the ball, it is so much more. We each throw 15-pound bowling balls, a lane is 60 feet long and there are all different oil patterns, so you need to know how to read that. There’s also different types of throwing. It’s a lot more than most people assume. It was really interesting when I figured out I loved it.”Q1: What does a typical day look like for you?A typical day in on the bowling team includes 8 a.m. workouts twice a week, going to class, and practice twice a week in Reading. The team travels up to 30-40 minutes for practice at Heister Lanes, or Jay Lanes, and returns to campus around 9:30 p.m.”We just started working with Kyle (Regensburg) doing conditioning. We’re getting into the strength portion, such as hips and legs. Bowling is a lot of lower body and core. A lot of people think it’s just arms, but it’s actually a whole full body experience.”Q2: How do you find yourself balancing both academics and athletics?“Being a student-athlete definitely keeps me a lot more focused. I think that if I didn’t have the regimented schedule, I would probably watch a lot more Netflix and have a lot more free time. I’m definitely a student first, athlete second. My school work is important.”In addition to studying on her own time, Aptaker is required to do team study hall on Tuesday’s in the library, where everyone is required to stay for at least one hour.Q3: What led you to Kutztown to continue your career?“My high school bowling coach and his daughter both went here. So when I was getting into bowling, he kind of just pushed me to go to Kutztown and apply.”Q4: Bowling is not only an individual sport, but a team sport as well. As a team, what was your overall goal for the season?“As a team, last year was really a rebuilding year, we lost a lot of essential players. Coming from last season, it was really to regain our ranking. We had been one of the top 25 teams in the nation up until last season. We’re right on the cuffs, so we will see when the next ranking comes out. We should be right hovering right around 25. The goal is to get in that top 25. Sectional and Conference Championships are coming up, so obviously the goal is to also win them.”Q5: What is your biggest accomplishment since you’ve been at KU?Melanie’s biggest accomplishment was last semester when she submitted a poem to the Mental Health and Literature Conference. Out of all the poems submitted, hers was picked to be read aloud at the conference.”My academics have definitely also been one of my biggest accomplishments, including making the Dean’s List five times.”Q6: What age were you when you started bowling? Did it come naturally to you, or was it something you really had to work at?“I was a sophomore in high school, so about 16, which is kind of late when it comes to starting to bowl. A lot of my friends and teammates started at 10-11 years old, so I was playing catch up for a while.””A little of both, coming naturally vs. working at it. My first season I averaged 70, and then after that I decided that bowling was something that I wanted to pursue. I got a coach and lessons and I went from a 70 to a 140 in just a year. At the end of my senior year of high school I was averaging in the 180s. It’s a little bit of both hard work and also some natural talent to be able to make the progress.”Q7: Outside of athletics and academics what do you like to do in your free time?“I read and write. Spend time at the lanes. I also live by the beach at home, so I spend a lot of time at the beach.”Although Melanie doesn’t have much free time, when she does, she enjoys reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.Q8: Who is your biggest inspiration?“My nana, she’s a writer, so I consult with her for all of my writing projects and papers. She always is there to help out.”Q9: What is your major and what are you planning to accomplish in the future? How has being an athlete prepared you?Melanie has managed a double major in both English and Political Science, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. In addition, she has just submitted her first law school application to University of North Carolina. She believes that being an athlete has prepared her by, “just living the experience. The only way to experience things is to live it and using what you’ve been through as the basis of that.””I want to go to law school to work with collegiate athletics. As a student-athlete, I am interested in transgender law and changing the inclusions processes to encourage more transgender student athletes to participate in collegiate athletics. The program I just applied for, is a law school degree plus a masters in sports administration.”Q10: How do you prepare in the offseason?“I spend a lot of time at the lanes. You can never practice too much. So a couple of days a week of bowling, I’ll also go to the gym or run on the treadmill. Really anything to try and stay in shape.”

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