Each year, the Greater Wichita Sports Commission recognizes athletes and coaches for their outstanding performances. Recent Newman University graduate Bria DeGrate was one of the few nominated for this year’s College Female Athlete of the Year.
DeGrate played on the women’s basketball team for four years and finished a strong senior year.
DeGrate said she was very surprised upon hearing about her nomination as one of three finalists for the award. “The first thing I did was tell my mom. I was glad to see that my talents were finally being recognized,” she said.
While DeGrate excelled on the court, she was also dedicated to her academics. In fact, DeGrate shared that her decision to attend Newman University was due to academics.
“Newman is a great science school and it’s a private school. That was very attractive to me. Of course, basketball mattered but I was a student first,” she explained.
This May, DeGrate graduated with a Bachelor of Science as a pre-physician assistant. Since then she has been busy applying to physician assistant schools in various states. Ultimately, she said her goal is to work alongside an obstetrician in emergency medicine.
According to DeGrate, playing basketball has provided her with many life lessons.
“It has definitely instilled a competitive spirit in me. I know how to work as a team and to give more of myself for the success of the whole. I have built many relationships that may help with networking. I have gained leadership qualities and I have realized a lot of things about myself personally. I gained time management skills, the ability to hold others and myself accountable and confidence in my abilities,” she explained.
DeGrate said her favorite memory was beating Lubbock Christian University her senior year.
“We struggled early in the season, but things started to fall into place. Winning that game showed that we finally had it together. It was a great year.
“I really appreciate my coaches,” DeGrate added. “Honestly, I didn’t like them in the moment but I have grown to appreciate the tough times they put me through. They have helped me grow in unimaginable ways. I am forever grateful.”