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Athlete of the Week Q&A: Marika Cusick

The BRSN team selects one Cornell athlete each week whose performance stood out among their peers both within the Cornell athletic community and the Ivy League. This week, we caught up with Marika Cusick, a senior tennis player who played an important role in Cornell’s team victory over Brown this past weekend.

BRSN: Marika, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.  What was your mindset going into the Brown match?

MC: Because Brown was our last Ivy League match of the season, I think everyone was looking forward to enjoying the moment and having fun out on the court. We had put in a lot of hard work, so I think we all had belief that our hard work would pay off in the long run, and it did! Personally, since it was my final Ivy League match, I tried not to let myself get too emotional before the match and focus on playing point by point. Of course, after our victory, there were some emotions. 

BRSN: What is your earliest tennis memory?

MC: In one of my first tennis camps, my grandmother came with my mom to watch me play tennis for the first time. As she watched me whiff ball after ball, she told my mom that I probably shouldn’t continue with this sport, and maybe pick up something else. Good thing my mom didn’t listen!

BRSN: Why did you choose Cornell?

MC: I chose Cornell because it gave me a great balance between athletics and academics. When I came on my visit, I was extremely impressed by the dedication that the girls on the team gave to both the tennis court but also the classroom. Similarly, a close team dynamic was very important in my decision. I wanted a team that I could not only call great teammates, but also great friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to share this experience with. Finally, Coach Stevens had a lot of interest in me from the beginning of the recruiting process, and it helped my decision knowing that I had a coach that believed in me and my game from the very beginning. 

BRSN: What is or has been your favorite class at Cornell? 

MC: My favorite classes at Cornell have definitely been in the Japanese department. Because I am half Japanese, it has been extremely important to me and my family to keep up with being fluent in Japanese. When I went to Japan last summer, all my family members were impressed with how my Japanese had improved during college. It was exciting to see my schoolwork pay off in this way. 

BRSN: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

MC: The Australian Open. It would be a dream come to true to go to all four major tennis championships, and I have yet to check the Australian Open off my list. 

BRSN: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

MC: When I was a baby, Princess Diana visited my hometown Chicago. Because she was beloved around the world, a large crowd of people waited to get a glimpse of her. As she came out, my mom rushed forward with me in her arms. As she greeted her fans, she said hello to everyone in the crowd, and she stopped to give me a tap on the head.

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