Catching Up With the Past: Maggie Justinak

Catching Up With the Past: Maggie Justinak

Maggie Justinak lines up for a free throw. Metro State University photo

It’s been a quite a few years since Maggie Justinak’s name has been brought up. Although her name no longer appears on the Rock Springs High School Lady Tigers basketball roster, her basketball career has flourished.

If there’s one thing that can’t be forgotten, it’s that Justinak and basketball go hand in hand with one another.

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Growing up, Justinak found a passion for the sport of basketball at a very early age. Ever since she was a kid, she loved to be outside playing basketball with her brothers. As she developed her skills and gained experience, she eventually found herself on the floor playing in a Rock Springs High School Lady Tigers jersey.

Throughout her high school career, Justinak played all four years for the Lady Tigers. She proved to be valuable, earning all-conference honors three times and all-state honors twice throughout those four years wearing black and orange.

Justinak was a multi-sport athlete, winning a state title her junior year and all-state honors for tennis, and helped the Tigers win two regional championships in girls soccer. As talented as she was in athletics, she was equally as sharp when it came to the classroom.

Bigger and Better Things Ahead

When it came to planning for her next steps after graduating high school, Justinak knew she wanted to play basketball at the next level. With her success on the court, nearly every junior college in Wyoming was interested in her along with a few small NCAA division II and III programs.

“My experience of recruitment definitely humbled me because I wanted to go big, but I didn’t realize how much more work I needed to put in,” Justinak said.

Justinak settled on the Casper College Thunderbirds, which turned out to be one of the best decisions she says she has ever made. While playing there, she earned all-region, all-tournament team and offensive-team honors. She helped the Lady Thunderbirds win a regional tournament, which booked a trip to the NJCAA tournament.

One of her special memories from her time at Casper College was her relationship with her coach.

“He cared more about how we aspire to be better people instead of just athletes,” Justinak said.

Maggie Justinak, Metro State University photo

Determined to continue her academic and athletic career, Justinak looked for a program with a similar coach who had her best interests in mind. The decision came down to University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Metro State University (MSU) and Adams State University (ASU).

After careful consideration, she found that Head Coach Tanya Haave at Metro State was the perfect fit for her as a player.

In her first season with MSU, Justinak started all 29 games and ranked sixth on the team with an average of 7.2 points per game. In the classroom, she also was named on the 2020 MSU Denver Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for the spring semester.

As she plays her senior year out with MSU, she has many goals she hopes to achieve. One of which is to play professional basketball overseas for a few years. On the academic side, she plans to get a Master’s degree in lifestyle wellness coaching and open up her own private practice.

I would also love to become a coach at the college level as well.

Although she has blossomed into a well-rounded basketball player, Justinak recognizes the support from Sweetwater County and all the great people who have helped her along the way.

“I personally would like to thank Coach Bath, Mr. Metz, Mr. Mitchelson, Mrs. Beardsley, and Mrs. Ronick for always pushing me in the classroom and supporting my dreams in the athletic spotlight as well,” Justinak said. “I am so grateful for all the people I have met. Everyone I have encountered definitely pushed me to be the person I am today.”