Volume 1, Number 7 - February 2, 2011

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Saeli  Gutierrez
Saeli Gutierrez
Sports Writer


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Picture of Lady Sharks
SERBIAN SUPERSTAR: (Middle, blue jersey) Forward/center Smiljana Cuk sets a screen for a teammate during a practice on Jan. 26. The Lady Sharks face Broward College in an FCCAA Southern Conference Show-down, at Broward, on Feb 2. GREGORY CASTILLO/ THE REPORTER

Lady Shark Rises Above Adversity

By Saeli Gutierrez
Saeli.gutierrez001@mymdc.net

People react in different ways to a loss.

Smiljana Cuk, has tried to make the most of difficult times.

Cuk’s father—Zdravko Cuk—passed away from heart failure just before the Serbian native left her country and committed to play college basketball at Miami Dade College last year.

“I am sad because he didn't finish [what he started,]" said Cuk, a sophomore center for the Lady Sharks. "He gave me strength to keep going.”

Her devotion to her father has not been in vain. Cuk made the dean’s list, with a 3.89 grade point average, this past semester, according to Head Coach Susan Summons.

“My dad was my ideal example, the most genius person I’ve ever met,” Cuk said. “My father was always telling me, don't waste your time watching television or with games, [its] better [to] read something." 

Cuk has also found success on the basketball court. She is currently ranked 11th in rebounding in the Florida Community Colleges Activities Association with 7.4 average per game.

“[Smiljana’s] father passed before she was scheduled to arrive here at MDC and still after the funeral, [she] came a long way to fulfill her dreams,” Summons said.

Basketball has always been her safety net. Cuk has played the sport for 14 years.

“Basketball helped me develop physically and psychologically,” Cuk said. 

In the United States, her teammates have supported her. In the process, they have also learned from her.

“[Smiljana] has taught me more about myself,” said sophomore guard Melanie Ducott. 

Cuk is excited about the next chapter in her life. She hopes basketball will be a part of it. 

“We never know what can happen in the future,” Cuk said. “Just take the most of what you can, in what life brings to you.”


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for information.