Update: Alumna Kara Lazauskas was the female winner during the Feb. 14 competition of NBC’s Titan Games and became one of the top 16 contestants who will compete for the title in the next shows of the season. To see Kara demonstrate the Bulgarian split squat exercise, go to the NBC website.
At Cal State Fullerton, every campus member is a Titan.
Right now, a CSUF alumna is seeking the same title nationally as she competes on NBC’s new series “Titan Games.”
Kara Lazauskas, a January 2019 graduate with a master’s degree in kinesiology, will display her strength and mental agility during the Feb. 14 program of the series, which pits competitors in mental and physical challenges.
The graduate, who continues to spend time conducting research in muscle physiology in the university’s Center for Sport Performance, almost didn’t apply to be a part of the competition.
It seemed right up her alley. Lazauskas, who lost a lung at the age of three, came from an active, athletic family and worked hard to build up her endurance and strength. She played basketball in high school and college until ACL injuries put a finish to that sport. She became a powerlifter and, for a short while, an MMA fighter, as well as an athletic trainer.
A friend who played college basketball with Lazauskas called, emailed and texted, urging her to apply to the program. Still, she was hesitant. “I never was too interested in those types of shows. But I knew if I ever tried for such a program, it had to be a quality, respected program.”
Lazauskas applied an hour after the deadline, and didn’t figure she had a chance. She focused on her graduate studies and exploring muscle cells of competitive weightlifters under the microscope.
Lazauskas was wrong about not having a chance. She got a call in May 2018 to come out for a weekend ‘combine,’ where potential competitors had to show that they had the skills and strength to compete in the program.
“It was a taste of what was to come,” explains Lazauskas. The call offering her a slot on the show came a day before her birthday.
While she can’t say how well she did, Lazauskas was impressed with the show, host Duane Johnson and her fellow competitors.
“Dwayne was friendly and open,” says Lazauskas. The entire experience “was more than I expected.
“I wasn’t expecting the camaraderie, how the competitors were rooting for each other, respecting each other’s skills. I felt peaceful, at home.”
Lazauskas says her ultimate career goal would be to work with a service organization, such as the Navy Seals, as a tactical strength and conditioning coach. But a doctorate and a future in research may be in her future as well.
“I’ve always been interested in how our bodies shape and take care of us,” she stresses. “I think that fascination has shaped my interest in research.”