Schwerman maintains 3.95 GPA, hoops schedule

Kelly Schwerman had a few minutes to spare before Accounting Communication started, so after taking her customary seat in the front row, she turned to talk with her friend Anne Larson.

Initially the conversation started out just like any other — they exchanged greetings and pleasantries — but then it took an abrupt detour.

Without any provoking Larson turned to the person sitting next to Schwerman and said: "She's the smartest person I know."

Over the next 50 minutes Schwerman, a finance and accounting senior with a 3.95 GPA, did nothing to refute or contradict her friend's praise.

In fact, during that time span she also proved to be one of the more engaged students in the class.

When Robert Yahr took a break from lecturing on concise sentences and avoiding the passive voice to ask a question, Schwerman was one of the few people who raised their hand and gave an answer.

Not only did she participate, but she was also prepared. Before class she wrote out the answers to a series of exercises in the textbook, even though Yahr said he'd go over them in class and didn't collect the assignment.

After going through a series of problems in the book, the professor dismissed class early. Schwerman placed her daily writing assignment in the pile by the door and walked out. That signaled the end of classes for the day, but her other commitment had yet to begin.

Schwerman thought practice started at 1 p.m., so she bought lunch at Jimmy John's and brought it with her to the Al McGuire Center. After eating her turkey sandwich and baked potato chips in the players' lounge, she changed and walked across the hallway to the arena.

A couple minutes into her warm-up, assistant coach Michelle Nason told Schwerman and her teammates practice had been pushed back an hour and that they were to use the extra time to make 100 free throws.

That proved to be a sign of things to come.

A few minutes into practice, head coach Terri Mitchell called a couple of imaginary fouls that sent Danielle Kamm and Katie O'Grady to the free-throw line with the team's fate resting on their shoulders.

This was nothing new for either of them. Both had been to the line in the final minute of the game against Charlotte last Monday, needing to convert all of their chances — neither of them were able to do it.

Given the chance to avenge history two days later, they instead repeated it.

This time though, the missed free throw meant full-court sprints for the team instead of a crushing defeat.

In addition to recreating critical junctures from the loss to the 49ers, Mitchell began to prepare her players for their game on Saturday against DePaul, which ranked No. 15 in both polls at the time.

She showed them film of the Blue Demons and moved practice from the arena to the more intimate and enclosed practice court in an attempt to simulate the close confines of the DePaul Athletic Center.

To imitate the anticipated crowd noise, the radio blasted static off the concrete walls during drills and every member of the program made noise when someone was attempting free throws.

That didn't bother Schwerman, who leads the team with 13.5 points per game.

She still went about her business as if it was just another day at the office, but she understood the importance of preparing for the hostile crowd.

"If you get used to the louder environment in practice, then DePaul, with 3,500 fans in a small space won't be bad," Schwerman said. "You'll get used to it."

During her 10 a.m. class, Acting for Non-Theatre Majors, she was the audience.

Schwerman was scheduled to perform her monologue — an excerpt taken from Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll House" — on Friday, so she sat in the back of the upper theater in Straz Tower and watched her classmates, including Carolyn Kieger — her best friend on the basketball team — recite their pieces. That class, and the course as a whole, has proven to be a nice change of pace for Schwerman, who before THAR 051 hadn't taken an elective outside of her major since she was a freshman.

In addition to the theatre arts class and the accounting elective, she is also taking Principles, Problems, and Psychology of Coaching; Real Estate Finance and Securitization; and an independent study class exploring international finance for a total of 14 credits this semester.

By taking 14 or 15 credit hours in the fall and spring for the past four years, and six additional credits each summer, the Waukesha native will graduate in four years.

"I've always taken summer school," she said. "I've never not been here all summer. I live here."

To be more specific, she lives in Humphrey Hall with her teammates, but most of her waking hours are spent at the Al McGuire Center.

Basketball practice got done right around 4 p.m., but training for the day was far from over.

After working on a senior video for the team and eating a cooked-to-order pasta dinner in a private dining room at the Alumni Memorial Union, Schwerman returned to the Al for the team's 8 p.m. weightlifting session with strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple.

After a brief warm-up period the team divided into groups of three for the weightlifting portion of the workout. Two people in each group lifted while the third member served as a spotter and used the reprieve to rest.

The three cycled between lifting and spotting until each person had done three sets for both lifts. Each group moved to three different stations before the lifting portion of the workout was done.

The workout ended with every member of the team lying down on the floor in a straight line. Then, with their backs on the ground, they raised their legs until they were perpendicular to it and proceeded to do 110 toe touches.

By the time the abdominal workout was complete it was 8:45.

After changing in the locker room Schwerman returned to Humphrey to finish studying for her Real Estate Finance and Securitization test the next evening.

She also had a project to complete before Friday for her independent study course.

That wasn't the first time Schwerman opened the books that day.

"I set my alarm for 6:30, but I hit the snooze until 7," Schwerman said. "I did my accounting daily assignment (in the) morning because it required research. I couldn't do that over the weekend" during the road trip to East Carolina and Charlotte.

Thanks to her dedication and meticulous planning, Schwerman has been able to overcome every challenge presented to her in the classroom and on the basketball court.

Upon graduation she will take her skills and experience to work with her in the finance and accounting department at Kohler.