Play to Win

Karsten Mathsen  |  Senior  |  Concordia High School

Concordia High School senior Karsten Mathsen plays to win. “What motivates me is my competitiveness to win at everything I do,” he said. “I have had this competitive fire since I was very young. It doesn’t matter what I play, it can be cards, ping pong, knockout, anything, I play it to win.” Ken Kulus, Concordia head boys basketball coach, agrees. “Karsten is ultra-competitive and has never been afraid of big moments. He has always risen to the occasion and has never been scared of taking a big shot or stepping up to the free throw line for a big free throw. In big moments, he has always excelled.”

Mathsen’s parents were family teachers at Boys Town, so he was always playing sports with the boys on campus. “Playing as many sports as I could was highly encouraged by my parents.” However, Mathsen had a life-changing experience his freshman year when his mom unexpectedly died. “I would not say I have overcome this and probably will never get over it in my life, but it has sculpted me into the person I am today. Never take anything for granted and truly enjoy every moment you get with loved ones.”

Playing team sports has been an important part of Mathsen’s life, and he enjoys the camaraderie of the team, both on and off the field. “You build trust in other people,” he said. “You have to count on others to have success. The best part is that you have to work together if you want to have success and win. It can’t just be you.” Coach Kulus added, “Karsten is the ultimate student of the game. He watches as much film as I do, and usually comes up with a game plan before the coaches. His knowledge of the game is what sets him apart. He is able to call out defensive sets and alignments, he directs people into the right positions on offense, and he is the best communicator we have on our team.”

In the fall, Mathsen will be attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. “I am going to play basketball and study finance. I want to be a financial advisor and help people make good decisions with their hard-earned money.” Undoubtedly his focus and communication will give him the skills he needs in his future career.

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