By Whitney Truax
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
A biochemistry major from Anchorage, Alaska, sophomore Kari Hancock can teach anyone how to plan out a day. Hancock knows how to balance riding on the TCU equestrian team and keeping up with her 4.0 GPA to stay TCU’s Chancellors Scholar.
Coming from Alaska, the sophomore Hunt Seat rider, who earned all-conference accolades this season, had to adapt just a little to the weather.
“Life in Alaska isn’t exactly what people usually think of it as. It is far more similar to living in Texas than most assume,” Hancock said. “The major difference is definitely the weather and although we have had our fair share of cold down in Texas, it is a lot warmer than it ever was back home.”
The biggest difference she had to adjust to was the sun setting in the summer.
“I grew up with nearly 24 hours of daylight in the summer back in Alaska and I still find myself noticing how early it gets dark in Texas,” said Hancock.
Choosing where to go to college was a huge decision Hancock had to make, just like most student-athletes. She wanted to attend a school with a Division 1 equestrian program. While researching, she discovered TCU and decided to visit the campus.
“As soon as I set foot on campus for my first visit, there was no doubt that this was the place for me,” Hancock said. “I fell in love with the campus, friendly and caring community, top-notch academics and the best that college athletics can offer.”
Upon applying to TCU, she was awarded the Chancellors Scholarship and a spot on the TCU equestrian team, which made the decision for her.
‘Today, I can proudly say I made the best decision of my life to come to TCU and will no doubt be a Horned Frog forever,” Hancock said.
“Kari came in as a coachable, willing young lady and has developed into a top student-athlete for TCU Equestrian,” Haley Schoolfield, TCU Director of Equestrian said. “She brings a winning attitude and effort to every session and seeing the results pay off for her is very sweet. Kari has maintained a 4.0 GPA as a biochemistry major, so her success is not limited to the athletic stage. No matter what direction Kari heads in life, success will find her.”
Being a Chancellors Scholar has given Hancock the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Chancellor Victor J. Boschini that most people at TCU do not have. He has become one of her greatest inspirations at TCU.
Through this opportunity, Hancock was able to take Dr. Boschini’s freshman seminar in education her first semester on campus. During this course, he instilled in her the value of learning and taking advantage of every opportunity.
Attending different events with Boschini, Hancock has had the opportunity to see a side of Dr. Boschini that most people do not know about.
“One thing that a lot of people don’t really get to experience is the more humorous side of Mr. Boschini. He has no problem joking around with his students,” said Hancock. “I have also had the opportunity to work as a student assistant in the Office of the Chancellor, which was a great deal of fun not only because his office staff is amazing, but also because it meant that I was able to enjoy his humor all summer long.”
“Being a Chancellors Scholar has given me the opportunity to make connections with Boschini and other faculty members that I would not have pursued otherwise,” said Hancock.
Majoring in biochemistry is helping Hancock, who was one of only four equestrian student-athletes in the Big 12 Conference to post a perfect 4.0 GPA, fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinarian.
“My current plan is that after I leave TCU I will head off to start work in a VSTP program that will allow me to pursue both my DVM and a PhD at the same time,” Hancock said.
She has always had an interest in biology and chemistry, so biochemistry fit perfectly.
“I found that I enjoyed learning about the chemical processes that comprise biological functions, so I decided that I would give biochemistry a go,” said Hancock. “I also chose biochemistry because of the diversity of post-grad opportunities available as well as the undergrad research opportunities I can pursue in various departments.”
Finding a balance between studying and the Equestrian team takes a great deal of effort from Hancock.
“I find that planning out my days is the only way to really keep on top of everything that I have to manage,” said Hancock.
Like all collegiate level student-athletes, Equestrian riders start at an early age. Hancock started riding when she was nine after retiring from eight years of gymnastics.
“I wanted to try it out for fun and found myself in love with the sport, so I left the gym and never looked back,” Hancock said. “I started taking lessons back in Alaska. I then moved on to working with various trainers on my own horse before branching outside of Alaska and eventually on to college.”
Besides focusing on her studies and riding, Hancock likes to spend her free time doing something artsy. She also likes spends time riding her own horse that she brought to Texas.
“Back in high school, I spent a lot of time in the arts with everything from choir, orchestra, pottery, painting, drawing and crafting,” said Hancock. “Now that I am in college, I don’t have as much time for any of those activities but I do enjoy picking up a good book and taking a moment to slip out of reality.”
As a member of the team, Hancock is a very coachable said by both Schoolfield and Hunt Seat Head Coach Logan Fiorentino.
“Kari is never frazzled when it’s her turn to compete and is always calm about what she does,” said Fiorentino. “She take instructions really well, processing everything and then applies what we’re working on, which being able to do that has allowed her to really progress as a competitor.”
Hancock is the true definition of student-athlete, a 4.0 biochemistry major and all-conference honoree inside the show ring. Through her drive, focus and determination, Hancock has plans to do big things once she leaves TCU, but for now is taking it day-by-day, balancing all her endeavors.