(Photo provided by Emily Kompelien)
First of all, how did you ﬁrst start running?
I started running in 8th grade. Before that, I played soccer with the older age group since I have a summer birthday. That fall, when they were in 9th grade, I couldn't try out for the high school soccer team with them because of the grade difference, so I ﬁgured cross country would be a good way to ﬁll the gap. I always hated running, but went pretty fast in the elementary school mile, so I knew it would be a good way to stay in shape!
What are all your personal records, including cross country?
XC 5K: 17:56
Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?
I'm on the nordic ski team in the winter, which is a good time. A lot of the runner girls also ski, so we get to train with each other year-round! It's really great to have a season where we can get away from pounding on pavement to work on strength and cardio.
What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?
The 4x800 last year at state was really memorable. My team went in with big goals, but knew that there were a lot of other good squads competing for ﬁrst place. We ended up pulling through with the win, broke the state record, and the 9:00 barrier! It was really satisfying to see a season of progression fuse together at the end.
Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?
All of the Lake Conference girls are so fun to race against. I feel like we've gotten to know each other fairly well, and it's great that we can be so friendly off the course but compete on it.
Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?
Matt Gabrielson and Lynn Sosnowski, my coaches, have been monumental in developing my abilities as both a runner and person with great training and attitudes. My teammates are so crazy important- we are really close and I don't think that we would be anywhere without each other. And, my family has also played a crucial role. My parents, grandparents, brother, cousins, aunts and uncle all come to cheer regularly and are so incredibly supportive.
What is the most helpful piece of advice you have received about running?
My XC coach Matt Gabrielson tells our team, "just go and get the best out of yourself that you can today." This piece of advice has stuck with me for a long time because it's so realistic. Racing, especially cross country, can be affected by lots of external factors. Hopefully, most of the time it will be successful and go the way you hoped, but sometimes there are off days. I like to know that as long as you've given it a 110% effort, you've got to accept the results and move on.
What is a challenge you have faced as a runner?
Probably the hardest times for me as a runner have been those when I get sick and have to take time off. For some reason, I've gotten really sick the past few years around the Griak during cross season, and it has taken me out of training for at least a week. I always struggle with taking rest for the appropriate amount of time, because it's like watching all of your hard work go down the drain. Turns out, it's never as bad as it seems- I usually come back feeling fresher than ever to wrap up a good season.
What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?
I want to go sub- 4:50 in the mile, and sub- 2:10 in the 800. Strength and speed are going to be crucial this season, and I'm super pumped to see how everything plays out once the training develops. Another really important goal for myself this season is to enjoy every second of this last season with all of my senior teammates- it's been a heck of a ride together and I can't believe that they will all be off in different places next fall.
Edina's girls distance team has been experiencing some pretty historic success recently. What is it about this particular group of runners that makes them special as a unit?
This group of girls is uniquely talented, and I believe are all super driven by past success and each other. Our team is really tight-knit, and I think it's pretty rare that you'll have an entire varsity squad bond with each other. With this love for one another comes a chemistry that is definitely evident out on the track and the XC course. We are all running for each other, and that's what keeps everybody strong when it's getting tough. Another thing about this team that's awesome is how we are able to have a ton of fun but also be serious- we laugh really hard together and have so many jokes, which always keeps the mood light and makes it fun to train. Even when there's a tough workout or if it's pre-race, there is still a focus on staying chill and helping each other prepare.
Do you have any college plans?
Not yet, I'm still browsing all around.
What are some key things you are looking for in your college of choice?
It's really subjective, but ideally I would like a smaller school with D1 running. I like how smaller class sizes and campuses feel, but want a running atmosphere where I can grow a lot. Of course, this is all just on paper, so what really matters is the feel! It's important to go somewhere where I'll click with the team and the coach, and where the academics all line up. I'm thinking everything will seem much clearer next fall when I will meet some teams and get their vibes.
Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?
On race days, I drink quart-sized bottles of Whole Foods electrolyte water, laugh hard at my teammates, and listen to Luke Christopher/Justin Bieber. Also, I always hit this overhang above the stairs going down to the locker room. Most of my team does it; I would say we are a little superstitious.
When not running miles or running on ovals, what might we ﬁnd you doing?
I like to hang out with my brother, adventure with friends, be outside, take pictures, and eat good food.
Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.
I pronounce the word portage the French way (like "port-ajjj").