Converse administrators have made difficult decisions to ensure the health and safety of our campus community. This includes moving all classes online beginning on March 30, 2020, and continuing through final exams.
As a tribute to our Converse athletes whose season was cut short, we are featuring some of our Valkyries seniors in a spotlight series.
Senior Spotlight: Marisa Daquil Kawabe
The ending of a college career can be a challenging time for athletes, however, an unexpected ending to that career can be devastating. With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus and the impact it has had on collegiate athletics, Converse College has started a series of spotlights for its seniors whose careers were cut short.
In this episode of senior spotlights, we introduce Marisa Daquil Kawabe ’20, a member of the Converse golf team and a Music and Psychology double major.
Kawabe, who hails from Fayetteville, N.C., has been a member of the golf team at Converse for four years. Although she played tennis and ran track in her earlier years, Marisa was drawn to golf at just three years old.
She has been a consistent member of the Valkyries program, earning a spot in the top-5 on a regular basis during her four years.
“She is one of the most mentally resilient people I have ever met,” said head coach Patti McGowan.
“My dad would take me to the golf course and let me hit balls with his clubs,” said Kawabe. “I did not play competitively until I was 10 and moved to the US with my mom. However, since we were only 45 minutes away from Southern Pines, where there are a lot of resources for junior golfers, my mom wanted me to try and play seriously.”
As Kawabe played regularly in junior tournaments, she became more and more competitive with not only other players, but herself as well. Golf, and playing better, became an obsession for her.
“I absolutely fell in love with the individual nature of the sport that required you to take full ownership of everything you did on the course,” she stated.
Marisa attended Terry Sanford High School, where she was a standout for the Bulldogs, earning Player of the Year honors in 2013. Kawabe also finished top-3 in the conference from her sophomore to senior years at TSHS, including regional runner-up in 2016. For her efforts, Kawabe was named team MVP for the Bulldogs.
Following her high school days, it was time for Marisa to find a college to compete. Having a love for music, Kawabe quickly settled on Converse after researching schools in South Carolina that provided music therapy programs.
“During the recruiting process, I remembered how onboard the music and athletic faculties were about helping me pursue both music and golf during my time at Converse.”
“With the amount of unique opportunities Converse allows for students to pursue, I knew I would be able to truly get the most out of my college years here,” Kawabe said. “During the recruiting process, I remembered how onboard the music and athletic faculties were about helping me pursue both music and golf during my time at Converse, which really excited me.”
Kawabe continued to develop and improve her game after stepping on campus at Converse. This became evident early into her senior campaign as she earned a spot in the top-2 for the Valkyries. Prior to the abrupt ending to the season, Kawabe was on pace to have her best season in a Purple and Gold uniform.
“It was a hard pill to swallow, knowing the season, and my career was over,” exclaimed Kawabe. “I was confident in myself to finish strong in our remaining tournaments. It especially hurt knowing how hard the team was working towards dominating in the last few tournaments we had left.”
Now that Kawabe has completed her collegiate playing career, she plans to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and enroll in a developmental psychology graduate program.
“Take time in college to learn to trust your gut, know yourself, know your “why” and don’t let anything get in your way,” Kawabe concluded.