Athlete of the Week: Emily Konishi ’19
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Emily Konishi ’19 knows that she may not be the biggest player in the pool, so she strives to be the fastest and smartest.
After swimming for a few years, Konishi began playing water polo, wanting to follow in her older brother’s footsteps.
“I was timid at first because I wasn’t used to such a physical contact sport, but I soon started to crave the aggressiveness,” Konishi said. She went on to be a four-year member of her high school’s water polo and swimming teams. She was named Junior Olympics All-American in 2011 and was named to the Third Team All-American roster in 2014.
After racking up these and many other accolades throughout her high school career, Konishi decided to play water polo for the Bison and is currently in the middle of her sophomore season. Konishi not only appreciates the elite level of competition and high expectations that push her to be her best, but also her coaches for always understanding that academics are the main priority.
“My coach always emphasizes that water polo isn’t everything. Family first, then school, then water polo,” Konishi said.
Konishi also credits the relationships that she has with her family, friends, teammates, and other Bison athletes for bringing her up after a tough game and giving her the confidence to succeed.
In the community of athletes at the University, “everyone respects each other for their sport,” Konishi said.
Konishi kicked off her collegiate career to a strong start in her first year, seeing action in all 33 games for the Orange and Blue. She had 21 multi-point games and ranked fourth on the team in scoring. She also currently ties the eighth place spot in the program record book for most assists in a single season with 49.
Her remarkable success has continued into her sophomore year. This season on April 1 against George Washington, she set a program record for most assists in one game with eight. In that same game, she tied the program record for single game points with 10. Konishi cites this game as the biggest accomplishment of her collegiate career.
Looking forward, Konishi is focused on working as a team to increase their win-to-loss ratio and secure victory in more of the tight contests. She also hopes that the team can move up from their national ranking of 25th.
“I think we can work hard to move up in the ranks and show everyone that we are not just underdogs anymore, we are a team to be taken seriously,” Konishi said.
And though Konishi seems to have a natural knack for her sport, competing at a Division I level doesn’t always come easily.
“I truly believe that hard work trumps everything. As long as you put everything you have into it, success will come. I’ve always felt incompetent because I was smaller than most water polo players, but I used that as motivation to make myself better,” Konishi said. “If I can’t outmuscle them, then I’m going to work really hard to be faster and smarter than them.”