October 22, 2008 - by
Sarah Wagenfuhr – Leading By Example

Oct. 22, 2008

By Stephanie Loewenstern
FSU Sports Information

Talent and dedication are key components of a great soccer player. Throw in the ability to think outside the box and provide leadership both on and off the field and you have the making of a great teammate. All these qualities represent who Sarah Wagenfuhr is as a person and as a student-athlete.

In the midst of her final season at Florida State, Wagenfuhr is enjoying a career year. The senior captain leads the team in assists and has tied the FSU single-season record with four assists in ACC play. With eight points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 2008, Sarah has matched her career point total from her first three seasons. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native is on track to graduate at the end of the fall semester with a degree in social science. Although that time in rapidly approaching, Sarah realizes there is still some unfinished business left to take care of out on the field. She hopes she can help lead the Seminoles to an ACC Championship and ultimately a victory in the national championship game in Cary, N.C. on December 7.

But the senior captain knows that it’s not all about wins and losses. Before the start of the 2008 season, Sarah and her Seminole teammates got together and came up with an idea to give back to the Tallahassee community. Sarah approached head coach Mark Krikorian with an idea of dedicating one of their home games to breast cancer awareness.

“The idea was a great one,” added Krikorian. “Everyone at Florida State has run with it and we are all looking forward to supporting a great cause.”

On October 16, the Florida State soccer team is `Painting the Plex Pink’ for Breast Cancer Awareness against nationally ranked Wake Forest. The Seminoles are supporting the cause by wearing special pink jerseys donated by Nike. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase the authentic gear as all 22 game jerseys will be auctioned off online at Seminoles.com beginning Tuesday, October 14 and ending Tuesday, October 21.

“We get so many little girls to come to our game,” said Wagenfuhr. “I thought it would be nice if we auctioned off these pink jerseys and donated the money to breast cancer awareness. Little kids love soccer and would want their mom’s and dad’s to buy the pink jerseys for them.”

Proceeds from the auction as well as all other donations collected from the game against Wake Forest will go to Susan G. Komen For The Cure. Putting together such an event is something that Sarah hopes will begin a long lasting tradition for the Florida State soccer team.

“This cause holds close to my heart because it affects so many women,” explained Sarah. “I think women need to do all they can do to prevent different things from happening. I know that God has a bigger plan for us and if something is going to happen it’s going to happen, but with all the medical advances, I think women can do their part to protect themselves and make things a little easier.”

Raising awareness for breast cancer isn’t the only thing that is on Sarah’s mind. The importance of disease prevention is essential as well.

“All kinds of medical ailments need awareness such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease,” Sarah added. “I think as Americans we take for granted all the blessings that we have.”

When it comes to physical health, Sarah was personally affected just last season. In the 10th game of the 2007 season against NC State, Sarah suffered a season-ending injury as she tore her ACL in the first half against the Wolfpack. But with hard work and determination, Sarah has come back stronger than ever.

“It feels good to be back,” said Sarah. “You realize when you are out the things you take for granted, such as running and walking. One of the things I missed the most was the ability to move. One of the most important things I looked forward to about coming back was fitness.”

Sarah has all the strength and abilities to prove she could come back and get in shape.

“It took a long time,” she said. “Every day I was here pushing myself, trying to get fit. Starting from absolutely nothing takes a long time.”

Getting back into shape after the injury wasn’t the only thing Sarah learned when it came time to returning to the soccer field for her senior season. She also learned what it meant to be a teammate, a leader, and a great friend.

“That was the first time I realized it’s not about me,” Sarah said. “Whatever I can do to help out the team I want to do it, whether it was staying back in Tallahassee for a road game so another girl could go or just cheering from the sideline. This injury helped me learn that everything happens for a reason and that good can come out of any situation. You just have to be patient. It may not always be what you think but it will be good in the end.”

Sarah’s great attitude, innovative ideas, and hard work equate to her success both on and off the field.

“Wags is about as important to our team as any player I have ever had and not just with her play, her play is stellar,” Krikorian explained. “But she is such a good leader and is great at leading by example. She trains hard, she works hard, she plays hard and she is a hard working student. She always sets a good example for all of her teammates and that is something that we count on.

“If there is a better leader in the country then I haven’t seen her.”

Sarah is a leader. She demonstrates this through her free time when she volunteers
as a peer counselor, working with special needs kids, and at her local church. It is not an easy schedule to balance but it is something that Sarah is passionate about doing. And how does she balance it all?

“It’s hard sometimes,” admitted Sarah. “I think to people who are given a lot, a lot is expected. I have a lot to give back. I have a special love for little kids with special needs. I think with the talents and abilities I have been given, I have so much to give back to people. I just try and put others before myself.”

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