“Workout, ride, school, more school and sleep.”
That’s how Monika Zoromski described her busy schedule as a junior nursing student and English captain of the UTM Equestrian team. Now in the offseason, she and the rest of the team prepare for finals but keep riding. Their season begins again in January and their first matchup is at home on Feb. 16, 2018 against Texas Christian University.
The Saukville, Wisconsin, native has been a member of the team since her freshman year and was the team’s most consistent Hunt Seat performer last year. She competes in equitation over fences and equitation on the flat.
One glimpse of her schedule gives insight into the hard work and dedication that comes with being a Division I equestrian athlete.
On workout days, for example, she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the 6 a.m. team workout. These sessions take place three days a week for 45 minutes to an hour. The first two days consist of lifting and on the third day, the team takes part in a group fitness class in the rec center.
“Those are always fun because it’s a nice break from benching and squatting,” she said.
After, she goes directly to UTM’s Graves Stables for her 8 a.m. ride. Following her ride, she rushes to get to her 9 a.m. class.
“That’s usually a struggle,” she said laughingly about the tight schedule.
On lecture days, she will have three to four hours of lecture, and on days that she has clinicals, they may be as long as six to 10 hours.
After that, it’s time to study, and the cycle starts over again. Her weekends can be just as busy.
The equestrian team usually travels twice a semester and has at least one competition a month, according to Monika. Yet, through the chaos and buzz of traveling and competing, she has to find time to work on her studies, sometimes on the bus.
“You just have to make yourself stay on top of it because it’s distracting,” she said. “…It’s just finding the balance of still being able to get your stuff done and still being able to enjoy traveling because it is a great time.”
Almost three years ago, Monika and the rest of the equestrian group was not sure if they were even going to have a team. Now, they are back in the NCEA Top 10 after several years and at no. 8, rank the highest that they ever have. Additionally, this year they have a freshman class of 19 riders.
“As a captain, it makes me really proud,” she said. “…They’re all great, and it’s exciting for the team because it’s just a new period of growth. They’ve all been great and they’re a big asset to the team.”
Monika has been riding since she was six years old and came to UTM after researching Division 1 teams. She met English coach Meghan Cunningham Corvin, though she did not ride then, since healing from a concussion she got during a freak accident when her horse fell and kicked her in the head when getting up. The accident left her in the hospital for a week with a brain-bleed.
“I really felt like I would have a lot of opportunities here, which I have, and then the nursing program is great,” said Monika.
This year she hopes to become an All American.
In addition to riding with the team, she also is involved with the St. Jude campaign, Up ‘Til Dawn and the Student Nurses Association.
After graduation, she would like to work within the mental health field.
“I think it’s just so important that you have something you can fall on in times of stress,” said Zoromski. “… Having my team and knowing that I have 37 other girls that understand everything the same way that I do and have the same reasons for doing this, that is just a big comfort, and it’s a family.”
(Monika Zoromski, English captain of the UTM equestrian team and a Nursing major, has a tough schedule of academic and team responsibilities. However, she says having her teammates around is a big comfort when she’s stressed. | Photo Credit/ Grace Salmon)