• CW_ConradKovalcik.jpg
    Senior Conrad Kovalcik running the bases for the NCCU Men’s Baseball team during their game against the Naval Academy. Photo courtesy of Kevin L. Dorsey/NCCU Athletics

NCCU baseball senior speaks about balancing school, sports, and family

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Conrad Kovalcik has a baseball spirit that is contagious.  The starting catcher for the North Carolina Central University men’s baseball team, Kovalcik is also the older brother of his teammate Carter Kovalcik.

 Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Kovalcik had a passion for baseball that granted him ambition to succeed.

During his days at Detroit Jesuit High School, Kovalcik played with his younger brother Carter.

Throughout the seasons, Kovalcik gave his best efforts to the Cubs in hits, doubles and RBIs.

In his senior year of high school, he earned all-league and all-district honors.

It was also at DJHS that Kovalcik and Carter first became comfortable as teammates.

“It’s great. When I was a senior in high school I cried after my last game because I thought it was our last time playing together,” said Kovalcik. “Having him here as teammate and experiencing college baseball has been the greatest part of playing at NCCU.”

During his time at NCCU, Kovalcik has improved every year. In his rookie season, he played only 19 games and batted .324.

While during his junior year, he started 52 games as catcher and led the team with 10 home runs in his junior year.

Kovalcik also had has the second highest slugging percentage during his junior year at .486, an on-base percentage of .387, and a team-high 32 walks drawn.

His improvements on the field become more impressive when you look at his academic responsibilities.

Kovalcik is a University Honors Program member majoring in chemistry.

He recently received an award for the highest academic performance among the seniors in his department at the NCCU Honors Convocation, April 6.  Kovalcik was also awarded the American Chemical Society Physical Chemistry Award.

Now in his final season, Kovalcik has grown to be a leader on the team.

“As it’s my last year, I try to take the leadership role, leading by example and working hard in practice,” he said.

This season has been a year of rebuilding for the team. When six players graduated last year, they took a chunk of the Eagles’ talent with them.

As one of the key returners, Kovalcik has had to take on more responsibility for the team’s success this year.

Kovalcik sees the team’s younger players as his little brothers, which plays a key role in his ultimate objective for the season.

“Dealing with this new season, we have several new upcoming players that are stepping up to the plate to fill in for our injured players,” he said. “Our main goal is winning the MEAC tournament, and I believe we have the talent and the heart to do it.”

Even with the transitioning roster, Head Baseball Coach Jim Koerner is confident that the team can adjust and make this season a positive one.

“We have a lot of new players and a lot of new faces. We had exactly 18 new players,”  said Koerner.  “But these guys are hungry, and this is a great test for our guys to excel this season. I feel that it’s a great test to the team and the returning players to lead by example.”

After graduation, Kovalcik said he hopes to fulfill his dream of being drafted into Major League Baseball. But medical school isn’t too bad of a back-up plan.

Darryl Bazemore is a mass communication senior studying in the broadcast concentration. Sports Editor for Campus Echo. After graduation, he plans to become a sports broadcaster with ESPN.

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