By Lisa Stukel, Contributing Writer
Team: Shrewsbury High School indoor track and field (co-captain); fall and spring crew (co-captain).
2010 Indoor track and field stats: Team – Mid-Wach Division A (third place); District E-Division 1 (second place); state meet – MI AA D1 (17th place). Individual stats – Tied for fourth place in high jump at 5″8″; 16th place in the 55-meter high hurdles with a time of 9.20.
When did you become interested in track and field?
“I originally became interested in track to stay in shape. I row in the fall and spring and wanted to do something in the winter. In my first year of high school, I started out in mid-distance, but my coach encouraged me to try hurdles and high jump. I really enjoy the adrenaline rush and the fast pace of hurdles.”
Which event is your personal favorite?
“I would have to say that it's a tie between hurdles and the high jump. I like the hurdles because it's intense for a short period of time. I have to make sure my timing is right to make it over the hurdles and maintain a fast pace. With the high jump, I feel like I's floating in the air over the bar. It's kind of relaxing and almost serene. The highest I have jumped during a competition is 5″8, but I have cleared 5″10 at practice.”
Who has been your biggest influence in track and field?
“My neighbor's brother influenced me to be a high jumper. I looked up to him my entire childhood. I spent a lot of time with him over the years and he was a very good athlete. He was a very successful high jumper as a senior, when I was a freshman. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Which coach has helped you to get to this point in your career?
“I have mostly worked with Coach Butterfield. He encourages me to blast off of the floor when I's doing the high jump, and has been a positive influence throughout my years of track and field. I'se also worked with Coach Dipalato.”
What is your most memorable moment in track and field?
“At a meet last year, I jumped 5″8, which was my personal highest. I was really nervous until I heard all of my friends cheering for me. It was really encouraging. I felt like I had just jumped over a building.”
How do you manage sports and academics?
“It was pretty hard for me the first two years of high school, as I was putting too much emphasis on sports, and my grades suffered. My junior year, I found a happy medium and was able to balance my workload and sports. I worked on organizing my time better and it paid off.
Do you set personal goals for yourself and how do you stay motivated?
“I stay motivated by not putting too much pressure on myself. I try to do my best at every meet by shaving off a few seconds off of my run, and trying to jump a little bit higher. If I don's have my best meet, I try to figure out what I did wrong and try to do better the next time. If I put too much pressure on myself, I don's do as well.”
What is your single most successful win?
“It would have to be a few years ago, when I placed first in hurdles. I used to get beat all the time in middle school and it felt good to win. I was able to overcome my awkwardness associated with my height and used it to my advantage.”
What are your plans for next year?
“I would love to row, and to try out for track and field next year at college. I haven's decided where I am heading next year.”