For the first time in 2017-18, the Bucknell Athletics Leadership Institute is recognizing Leaders of the Month. Candidates for Leaders of the Month are nominated by coaches based on leadership qualities demonsrated on and off the field. The February 2018 honorees are senior high jumper Lauren Hudson and senior wrestler Tyler Smith

Each of the recipients was asked for their thoughts on various elements of leadership.

LAUREN HUDSON, Track & Field (Principal Leader)

Lauren is a senior from Amherst, N.Y., majoring in English-creative writing. At this year's Patriot League Indoor Championships at Gerhard Fieldhouse, she won the gold medal in the high jump with a leap of 5'5". Last year, she was the runner-up indoors and placed third outdoors. Her career-best jump of 5'7" is third-best in school history. 

What is your favorite part about being a leader? What is the toughest? 

My favorite part about being a leader is being able to contribute to something bigger than myself in an elevated way. Knowing how significantly my actions directly impact the team makes me strive to be a better athlete and teammate. One of the most challenging aspects of leadership for me has been learning how to be a more vocal leader — I am a super-introverted person and have always felt more comfortable leading by example; however, as a team captain it’s necessary for me to be able to use my voice to represent and support my teammates.

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

During track camp, my co-captains and I facilitated several meetings with the goal of defining our team identity. After last year’s triple crown, we want nothing more than to continue to have a culture of success; however, the league is more competitive than ever so we knew that everyone would have to be on board with our mission in order to have success this season. Talking with everyone was essential, because we were able to shape our season based on collective goals. As a result of these conversations, I think we were a more focused and dedicated team, which definitely influenced our indoor Patriot League win at home. I’m excited to see how we can carry the momentum into the approaching outdoor season!

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

If I’m being honest, anticipation of my morning coffee! But also, and more importantly, knowing that every day I am presented with a new opportunity to challenge myself and work towards my athletic and academic goals.

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

Remember that you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first — even though so much of leadership is putting the needs of others before your own, self-care will make you better equipped to serve. Also, find a mentor or role model that you can use as a resource. Whether they’re another student-athlete or a coach or someone else entirely, having someone who you admire and aspire to be like is helpful as you develop your own leadership style.

TYLER SMITH, Wrestling (Principal Leader)

Tyler, a political science major from Export, Pa., recently became a four-time NCAA qualifier when he finished runner-up at 141 pounds at the 2018 EIWA Championships. Smith heads to NCAAs with a 27-4 record, including a 16-0 mark in dual meets. He picked up his 100th win earlier this season against American and is now 105-35 in his career.    

What are the elements of leadership that you are working hardest on?

My favorite part about being a leader is waking up everyday to not only better myself as a person, but also my entire team in the wrestling room, and also as individuals as well. Setting expectations and goals as a leader allows more people to buy in to what Bucknell athletics stands for. The toughest part is actually getting everyone to buy in to what the coaches are relaying to me and making sure everyone is 100% bought in on the process.

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

The most important leadership moment of this year for me was going out the Midlands tournament along with Coach LeValley. Although I went as the only Bucknell competitor, I believe it demonstrated that I am willing to go out of my comfort zone and compete with the best people in the country although I don't have the encouragement of my teammates by my side. I thought it taught everyone that personal goals can translate into team goals.

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

What gets me up in the morning is knowing I have the opportunity to attend Bucknell University and be part of such a prestigious program while being surrounded by a staff and team that constantly makes me into the best version of myself I can be. 

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

My advice to other student-athletes is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Life is not easy, but being able to embrace the challenges that occur allows you to grow as a person and an athlete.