Marshall Announces 2021 Mr. and Miss. Marshall


Mr. Marshall, Zach Ihnat, and Miss. Marshall, Caroline Kinder

The students have voted and elected senior Zack Ihnat and junior Caroline Kinder as their 2021 Mr. and Miss Marshall.  

Ihnat is a civil engineering and Spanish major sponsored by his fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi.

His platform is based on physical health and Wellness here on campus. 

“I spent some time out of the country this summer,” Ihnat said. “I spent it in Spain, and while I was there, I lost like 20 pounds. I got healthier, I was more productive, I slept longer, and I felt more rested. I felt like a lot of that had to do with my diet, and my level of physical activity.” 

During his time in Spain, he discovered how little processed food they consumed, and how important it was for them to practice physical wellness.

He said he would run in Retiro Park in the evenings.

“There would be thousands of people that go there to hang out with their family and spend time outside,” said Ihnat.  

“My experiences really allowed my platform to fall into place for me. I am very fortunate to be able to experience that,” said Ihnat. 

With help from Dr. Mary Katheryn Gould, a professor of dietetics here, he developed a plan for his platform. 

“They do a backpack program for families and children that may have food insecurity,” said Ihnat. “Part of that backpack program is they have a full meal, utensils and otherwise ready to be prepared for that family. Because the nutrition education program is all about going out into the community and local elementary schools. Really, they primarily focus on elementary school age children. They go out and basically with this program they’ll prepare backpacks to give to students that are in need,” 

Ihnat said regardless of whether he won Mr. Marshall, his fraternity would have worked to do a drive for this program. 

Now that he has won, he hopes to have more than just his fraternity take part.

“Maybe other fraternities and sororities on campus, SGA, maybe some of the other clubs; maybe we can all band together and try to make it some sort of competition for this backpack program,” said Ihnat.

He plans to solidify an initiative within the next few weeks.  

“Really the first thing I thought of was that I just wanted to hug my mom, and my sisters because they were down on the field with me. To be selected for something like that is such an honor; it’s really hard to put into words. When something is hard to put into words you just experience that raw emotion in the moment and that is definitely what was going on,” said Ihnat. 

Ihnat said his experience with Marshall lies beyond the four years that he has spent here as a student. 

 “Marshall means family; I mean that in a literal sense because my dad played football here and he is in the athletic hall of fame, and I still felt that when I came to Marshall, but the scope of that statement has taken an entirely new turn these last four years,” Ihnat said. “The school isn’t just family to me anymore just because of my dad. It is family to me because of me, because of the people I have met here, the people that have taught me the lessons that I have learned, and it is hard not to find a friend anywhere I go on this campus.” 

 Caroline Kinder’s major is secondary math education, and her sponsor is Marshall Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM).

Her platform is called, “Herd for Huntington.”  

“I just want to connect students to the local Huntington community,” Kinder said. “I feel like a lot of students come here and aren’t always from the area and they don’t really get a glimpse of the community as a whole. They just see the Marshall community and there are a lot of great local businesses and people and opportunities in the Huntington community that don’t always get a chance to be in the spotlight, because of the bad things in Huntington.” 

Caroline grew up in the Huntington area and is familiar with the local businesses. 

She said her goal is to show people, “The beauty of Huntington,” and explain that everyone has a place here.  

“The main thing I wanted to do was start an 8-week elective course called Huntington-101, just where each week in the course students would have an opportunity to meet local business owners or to go out to a local business, or to do community service somewhere,” said Kinder. 

Caroline said that she had never considered running until a few weeks before applications were due.

She said she did not feel like the kind of person to run for Miss Marshall.  

“I am just more of a behind-the-scenes person, a typical student,” Kinder said. “I am not a part of a huge organization like Greek life. I am the vice president of a campus ministry and I feel like a lot of the time people on campus ministries don’t really run for Miss Marshall.” 

Kinder said once she began to think about it, however, she felt that she should run.

She developed her platform while training for a half-marathon around Huntington. 

While running in this area, she took note of the local businesses. 

 “I didn’t want to do it because of myself, people don’t really need to know who I am but then once I thought about my platform, I just couldn’t really get it out of my head,” Kinder said. “I thought, I formulated this whole platform so now I just have to convince myself to have the confidence to run.” 

Kinder said she knows Huntington has its problems, but she believes more should be done to help it.  

“I know that there are people that need help here because there are a lot of things that are wrong, but I don’t think that there are a lot of people actively trying to fix our problems as much as they are just trying to talk or joke about our problems,” said Kinder 

She spent many days outside the Memorial Student Center, campaigning and talking with students about her platform. 

She said each day, different students approached her and were happy to listen to what she had to say.  

“So many people that I didn’t know just came up and wanted to know what I was doing or just wanted to talk to me,” Kinder said. “I already felt like I won before they even announced the technical winner because I already accomplished what I wanted to do by making connections with people and building relationships and educating people about things going on in Huntington.” 

Kinder said has always felt connected to Marshall and was honored to have run and won the title of Miss Marshall.  

“The special thing about Marshall is that you don’t have to fit in here, you just get to uniquely be yourself and you can start something and find people that are similar to you and people that aren’t similar to you and you can relate to all of them. Not everybody has to fit one certain stereotype here, everyone has the chance to be themselves,” said Kinder.