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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Athlete of the Week: Nadia Tyka

An exclusive interview with Nadia Tyka whose performance on the women’s lacrosse team earned her a spot for Athlete of the Week.
Photo provided by COD Athletics.

Name: Nadja Tyka

Sport: Lacrosse

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Mount Prospect

High School: Prospect High School


LG: When did you start playing lacrosse?

NT: So I first started playing lacrosse my sophomore year in high school. That was when they opened up a whole new program, so it was new to the entire school. A lot of the girls had never played lacrosse, so it was a very new sport to everyone. We had two or three girls who had played lacrosse before, but other than that, most of us were new in the high school program. 


LG: What position do you play?

NT: I play midfield. That means I play defense, I do the draws, so I start the game in the circle, and I also play attack and score the goals.


LG: Have you dealt with any injuries?

NT: Yes, previous to playing lacrosse, I ran track and field. I was a sprinter, so I did 100, 200 and relay races. My freshman year I suffered a very bad stress fracture in my left leg, and they said I wouldn’t be able to run again. So I had to take that year off, and I was super bummed out because I was qualifying for state too. Then Corona [COVID-19] happened and all of that. But I ended up coming back from the injury my sophomore year, and that’s when I started playing lacrosse. I ended up refracturing it, so I was out for half of the season. But then junior year I was fully healed and that’s when my injuries kind of stopped.


LG: Do you think attitude is a factor in winning?

NT: Yes. Having a positive attitude toward not only you and your teammates, but also the other team, shows good sportsmanship. Without a good attitude, it kind of brings the whole team down. We can’t blame each other. We can’t be blaming ourselves. We can’t focus on a mistake that happened during the game and be like, “Oh my God, I did this wrong” and stay stressed out about it. Mistakes happen. You have to move on from it. You’ve done it once, so you try not to do it again. But we are here for each other as a team. So, attitude really does matter.


LG: What are you most looking forward to this season?

NT: A lot of growth. Not only for myself but also for our team. This is a new program and it is hard. But we’re all here for one another. So, I’m really looking forward to all the new girls who have never played, to really coach them. They want to learn, so they come to me and the other captains and ask for extra help. They’ve been doing great. They have been learning super quickly. Girls that have never played before and started with us during the preseason are already doing a lot better. I’m very proud of them. And our coach is great. He brings out the best in all of us. I’m just happy that I can see everyone grow from here. 


LG: What made you decide to come to COD to play lacrosse?

NT: I wasn’t sure if I wanted to still play lacrosse or just focus on the whole learning experience of college. But honestly, I don’t know what I would do without lacrosse. It makes me look forward to something during the day, and the other athletes have become some of my best friends. I didn’t expect it, but Coach [Cope] really did a great job of bringing us together. We have shirts that say “We Over Me.” And I’m very big into that because my high school program was only a couple of girls leading the program and shooting. So he really emphasized the part where we’re all a family. I think that’s what brought me in. 


LG: How do you manage your athletic responsibilities with school and other activities?

NT: This is a hard question, not only for myself but for other student athletes. I work two jobs. I work weekends at Panera, and I also have a coaching job. I coach girls lacrosse at East Ave. So it is a little challenging at times. Our early morning practices start at 5:30, so it is challenging to wake up. But like I said before, our team really has each others’ backs. We help each other on homework assignments and tests that are coming up. We keep each other accountable. The girls really want to make me be here in the morning because 5:30 is really early and I live kind of far. But we all are very excited to be here. We have music playing. They want to make me be here.


LG: Who has had the biggest influence on you as an athlete?

NT: Definitely my high school coach. She gave us a lot of tough love. But she corrected us in private and told us what we needed to work on. She really pushed me to be my best. That’s my inspiration.


LG: Who is your favorite musician or band? 

NT: That’s tough. I’m not very picky, but I’m not a country fan. I would say Billie Eilish. I think it’s very inspirational how she’s grown these past couple of years. She started out when she was only 16. And now she’s grown into this huge pop star and inspired many young girls. So, I think how fast she’s grown in that industry has been a real big inspiration.


LG: That’s cool. She’s my favorite too! What are some of your favorite hobbies?

NT: I’m a very outdoor person. I don’t like being inside. I love moving around. Camping, fishing and hanging out with friends is a lot of fun. Even if I’m not good at a sport, I’ll just go play a random sport with some friends. I love being with friends. 


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

NT: Definitely Iceland or Greenland. I feel like those are beautiful. They say that Iceland is green and Greenland is frosty. But I think those are beautiful places. And I also like Switzerland. They are gorgeous areas.


LG: What one word best describes you?

NT: Hard-headed. When I want something to happen, I make it happen.


LG: Thank you very much.

NT: Thank you so much for having me!

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