Two-Sport Athlete Loncki Competes at Many Speeds

If you had asked Margaret Loncki CM '18 how she would be spending her first year of college, she probably would not have been able to tell you that she’d be playing both of her favorite sports.

When she received her acceptance at Claremont McKenna College, Loncki was sure that she would have to forgo playing either soccer or golf. Fortunately, with her competitive and driven spirit, Loncki made it through the grinding soccer tryouts in the fall as a walk-on and has risen to the top of the No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps golf team.

"I got really lucky that it all worked out," Loncki said. "I thought I had to choose when coming into college, and I was really nervous that I would have to pick, but then I found out I could play both here, so that's what made [CMC] my top choice."

Loncki grew up playing both sports in Phoenix, Ariz., and said she would have been devastated if she had been forced to choose just one. She said that she started playing soccer at around age four as a sport that “moms kind of throw you into.” She then picked up golf in eighth grade as an activity to play alongside her dad and kept up with the game after she found she enjoyed it.

Though it's not often you hear of a dual-sport athlete who plays soccer and golf, participating on both teams hasn't been discouraging for Loncki. Rather, this unique combination is exactly how she is able to manage her time and find success in both athletics and in school.

“I don't really have [a favorite] because they are just so different that it's hard to pick; when I play one I miss the other,” Loncki said. “It’s such a big change that I don't feel like I’m constantly killing myself with fitness or waking up super early, and I don’t feel like I’m always playing the same thing. I love it just because I’m so much more productive when I’m in season, and I don’t know if I could do [school] without.”

Loncki talks a lot about how different the two are, but one of her greatest assets to the Athena golf team is having a strong background in playing on team sports.

“Someone who has been on a team is a real advantage to have on an individual sport team,” head coach Jodie Burton said. “She brings camaraderie to the golf course. She makes people smile when she sees them on the course, and it's a really great thing and often needed.”

Loncki has proven to be quite the comedian on the team, whether it’s dancing in front of the hole while her teammates try to find their distance or twerking all the way down the green. She likes to have fun with the Athenas, but she also knows when it’s time for silliness and when it’s time to get down and focus.

“She is very competitive and intense, and she scraps and grinds on the golf course,” Burton said. “If she doesn't have her swing or some part of her game that day, she fights very hard to score, and she scores well all the time even when she isn't swinging the club how she wants to swing it. She’s very hard on herself, but she's quite talented, and she’s the most consistent player we have.”

Just as Loncki didn’t know what she would be doing once she got into CMC, she was unsure of just how well she would perform during the seasons.

“I just wanted to come in and play well for me and by my standards,” Loncki said. “It’s been really fun to come in and have a lot of us playing well, but we definitely still have a lot of room for improvement. We finished second in a lot of our tournaments, and we're really hoping to come out with a first place finish at SCIACs.”

Catch this soccer-playing and club-swinging extraordinaire as she helps to lead the Athenas in the SCIAC tournament April 26-28 at Oak Valley Golf Course.