Kjestrup's sport-study juggling act: 'it works out'

Otago Gold Rush swingman Bronwyn Kjestrup (22) fits in a training session at the Edgar Centre...
Otago Gold Rush swingman Bronwyn Kjestrup (22) fits in a training session at the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Bronwyn Kjestrup is used to finding a way to get things done.

It is something you notice about the Otago Gold Rush swingman on and off the court.

After a heavy loss in last week's season opener, she responded with a mammoth performance a day later.

Her 18 points, nine rebounds, six steals and three assists turned the ledger and led the Gold Rush to a decisive win over Taranaki.

It was evident in last year's final, too.

She came up with a timely fourth quarter block as the game got tight to help the Gold Rush to victory over Waikato.

As the Gold Rush prepares to do battle with the Waikato Wizards again, at the Edgar Centre tomorrow, it is worth noting what Kjestrup does to be on court.

A sixth-year medical student, she has juggled one of the University of Otago's busiest degrees with her basketball exploits.

On top of that she finds time to coach the Otago under-17 girls and help Kavanagh College girls teams.

In an age when more people are becoming "too busy" studying to play sports, it is a refreshing counter-narrative.

"I think if you like basketball and you really want to play, you can definitely make it work," Kjestrup (22) said.

"There's a lot of changes coming to university, but there's always a way to make it work.

"Basketball for me is an important escape from university and medicine.

"I really enjoy playing. If you want it to work, where there's a will there's a way - it works out."

Despite that it was study, not basketball, which lured Kjestrup south.

The sport had been a big part of her life growing up on the Hibiscus Coast and she played for North Harbour.

After deciding to study medicine she initially wanted to have a "good crack" at that and just played club basketball in 2014.

She joined the Gold Rush a year later and quickly garnered a reputation as a tough defender and handy rebounder.

Her height - 1.80m - makes her valuable in both those areas, although she is capable of chipping in on the offensive end, too.

Two WBC championships have come since then.

While free time is a commodity she has had little of, it is something she has learnt to make work.

"It's just finding time sometimes. Sleep might miss out or something like that.

"I'd love to say plan ahead, but generally you just have to get things done when you have to get them done - put the time in.

"I have to be aware of what's coming up for training. I don't have every evening free, so I have to know if I have to do things in advance."

She was looking forward to the Gold Rush's first home game of the season and expected a tough match-up against a Waikato side which also had two losses from last week's three games.

Women’s Championship

Otago Gold Rush v Waikato Wizards

Edgar Centre, Tomorrow, 1pm

Gold Rush: Aleisha Ruske, Annabelle Ring, Alex Bennett, Letitia Mullaly, Georgia Te Au, Olivia O’Neill, Bronwyn Kjestrup, Natalie Smith, Natalie Visger, Hannah Matehaere, Nicole Ruske, Hayley Gray.

-Gold Rush guard Nicole Ruske is set to travel to China next weekend to play for New Zealand in the 3x3 Fiba Asia Cup.

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