American Press Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Competition only prescription Hudler needs

Published 9:17 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

South Beauregard High School graduate Kenzie Hudler knew from a young age that her pursuit of sports excellence had to go hand in hand with academic excellence.

She earned multiple honors as a senior, including Beauregard Parish High School Student of the Year, American Press All-Southwest Louisiana Big Schools basketball MVP and state champion discus thrower. Her latest achievement is American Press Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

“The way I grew up we were told if you wanted to be good in athletics, you had to be good in academics,” said Hudler, whose father Dwight Hudler is the school principal and celebrated former McNeese State offensive lineman. Her mom Bridgette is a teacher and coach. “You want to be the top of everything.

Email newsletter signup

“I never really thought about it. This is what I have to do.”

Hudler finished high school with a 4.175 grade point average and a score of 30 on the American College Testing exam. She tested her academic prowess with dual enrollment courses through McNeese State and LSU-Eunice. Hudler will start her first semester of college this fall at Southern Mississippi on a track and field scholarship with 33 credits, more than a quarter of the credits she needs for a bachelor’s degree.

“I knew if I wanted to play sports in college, I had to have a good ACT score and a good grade in the classroom,” Hudler said.

She said she plans to pursue a chemistry degree and then move on to pharmacy school to become a pharmaceutical chemist.

“I passed my pharmacy technician certification exam, so I am certified to be a pharmacy technician,” Hudler said. “After taking that class, I really liked this.

“I can be in the medical field, and I can help people without actually having to be hands-on. I can be hands-on in the lab.”

She strived to help her fellow students as the Beauregard Parish School Board student representative. She was student council class president for four years and was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Senior Beta Club.

“I also care about the way I make others feel,” Hudler said. “It is more than just me wanting to be good. I want to make sure I help others along the way. Me being class president wasn’t just for me to say I was class president. I wanted to help the school and to make things better. It was a way for me to represent my school.”

As a forward averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, she helped lead the Lady K’s basketball team to the Nonselect Division III state championship game for the first time since 2017. In May, she won her second consecutive Class 3A discus state championship with a personal best throw of 128 feet, 2¼ inches.

“I love being competitive,” Hudler said. “I feel like competition brings a different aspect to life.

“It allows you to compete while also making friends. Having a team is a big benefit in life. It teaches you how to be a leader, and it teaches you how to work well with others even if you are not the main leader. It teaches you how to take a role and stay in that role to help others even if you are not the (focus) of it. I think for me, sports has taught me a lot as a person, teammate and a leader.”