Senior looks ahead

Diane Druper

When asked what someone might not know about her, Justina Liss responded, “I’m super-active, but sometimes I seriously just like laying in my bed and watching Netflix.”

The athlete nicknamed Wondernut by her teammates is also a dedicated student. She claimed second place last year in the New Venture Competition with her indoor mountain bike park business plan.

Disliking math in high school, Liss was surprised at how much she enjoyed accounting. This discovery led her toward the major she chose: entrepreneurship.

Liss, a senior from Bark River, Michigan, is a focused and energetic student who also happens to be one of the captains of the women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, Aurora. She is due to graduate this April but doesn’t hold back her “all-in” mentality one bit.

In her third year playing Ultimate Frisbee, Liss enjoys it most for the friends she has made and the “awesome support system” that she’s gained in addition to the opportunity to indulge her competitive nature.

The game could be described as a cross between soccer and basketball with a team keeping possession of the Frisbee as long as it doesn’t touch the ground. The sport engages athletes in both endurance and sprint prowess, as well as strategic full-team playing.

Liss originally got involved with the team by accompanying her friend to one of the practices, and she was immediately hooked. She encourages all students to get involved in student organizations on campus, suggesting finding something interesting and joining a friend like she did. “If you don’t enjoy yourself, you don’t have to go back, but it’s always worth a chance,” Liss said.

She did admit that the managerial side of Ultimate Frisbee could be stressful because of the paperwork but mostly from attempting to coordinate so many people with different schedules. The team participates in multiple weekend tournaments during the semester, and this year Liss’ goal is for her team to make it to regionals.

“We made it the first year that I played, and it was an amazing experience, being the first time Aurora was there, so that’s what I want to do this year too,” she said. Liss plans on reaching this goal by conditioning the team and working together.

When asked what she enjoyed about being a captain, she said, “Knowing that they trust me and have faith in what I’m telling them. I like being able to be a leader.”

Liss is not only an Ultimate Frisbee player, but she has also been racing sprint cars for five years. Her younger brother, aged 13, also races and they usually use a circular dirt track. They have also raced on an ice track, using a frozen river.

Liss’ current hobbies include mountain climbing, going at least three times a week to the rock wall at the PEIF, as well as yoga, which she’s been doing for about a year.

She’s excited to go out in the spring for some “real” mountain climbing, and she enjoys yoga year-round as a supplement to her climbing. “Yoga would be good for any athlete, though,” she said.

She loves NMU because of the nature, describing how she once sat in her hammock for 45 minutes without seeing anyone. She also enjoys access to hiking trails and the beach close by.
“I just want to play outside while I’m working,” Liss said.

For her this could include a bike shop or being an outdoor tour guide.

Her dad has had the biggest influence on her life, buying Liss her first dirt bike, resulting in her being “more of an athlete than a girly-girl.”

Liss’ personal goal this semester is to finish with straight A’s before taking graduate school entrance exams for a MBA program. She will begin hunting for jobs in Marquette and looking at graduate programs.

When asked if she was nervous about the next phase, she said, “Absolutely.” But it isn’t slowing her down; Justina Liss is ready, nerves and all.