Knight of the Week: Kelsey Poplawski

Junior guard Kelsey Poplawski plays an integral role on the Geneseo women’s basketball team, as she scores a large number of points and provides teammates with motivation. After her last year as a Geneseo Knight, Poplawski plans to use her communication major in a career of sports management. (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)

Every strong basketball team needs to have depth on their bench and talented players. Junior guard Kelsey Poplawski fills these roles for the Geneseo women’s basketball team.

Born in Dansville, New York, Poplawski’s love for basketball began at a young age. Throughout her high school athletic career, she proved that working hard to improve one’s skills pays off. 

During high school, Poplawski played for the Rochester Warriors and the Rochester Lakers, where she was also named a Ronald McDonald All-Star and won a Bob Parker Sportsmanship Award. 

During her time as a Knight, Poplawski has contributed to the team’s energy. Last season, she started every game knowing that she had to play hard on the court. The team had five seniors graduate last year, so this season Poplawski recognized that she had a bigger role fill.

One of Poplawski’s most memorable moments as a Knight was her team’s victory over SUNY Oneonta in the 2018 SUNYAC Championship. Poplawski played an integral part in this game, scoring 20 points for the women’s 58-52 win.

“We all loved the exciting feeling of winning such a big game,” Poplawski said. “The way everyone ran off the court together was something that you don’t get to live through every day.”

The Knights earned their sixth SUNYAC Championship in program history, and their first since 2015. Poplawski was named Tournament MVP and joined junior forward McKenna Brooks on the All-Tournament Team.

Poplawski’s experience with the coaching staff has improved her time at Geneseo. Poplawski met with head coach Scott Hemer in high school when he recruited her. She said that Hemer is more than just a coach; he is also an important role model.

“He cares about us as people, not just as basketball players,” Poplawski said. “He cares about where we want to go in life, while also teaching us valuable lessons that we will take with us later on in life.” 

Beyond Geneseo, Poplawski is a die hard fan of Syracuse University basketball. She looks up to professional athletes as well, including Dallas Wings point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith and Miami Heat shooting Dwyane Wade. 

Poplawski loves Geneseo and she attributes this to the strong sense of community. Having the campus and surrounding town support the women’s basketball program is one of the things Poplawski appreciates most about the school. 

She also enjoys going to class, where professors recognize her from the team. From this starting point, Poplawski finds it easier to develop relationships with them, which allows her to get the most out of her education.  When she is not on the basketball court, Poplawski said she in the library dedicating her time to her communication major. After Geneseo, Poplawski would like to pursue a career in sports management.

 Off the court and out of the classroom, Poplawski also relishes helping her peers, as she dedicates time to work in the Academic Advising and Planning Office as a student worker. One of her favorite things to do on-campus is to meet up with the underclassmen on her team and go to Mary Jemison dining hall to get pasta. 

Geneseo is sure to see exciting things from Poplawski during her final year at the college and beyond.