First of all, how did you first get involved with track & field?
My family is definitely a track family. My uncles, cousins, and other family members were all very involved in track, some even participating in college. My dad also ran hurdles back in high school, so that naturally led to me being curious about the event in junior high. It also helped that I was absolutely terrible at baseball, so track was the next sport in line!
What are all your personal records?
14.83 in 110m high hurdles / 39.53 in 300m intermediate hurdles / 51.96 in 400m dash
Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?
I played basketball up until 11th grade, and played football in junior high but quit after 8th grade due to a couple concussions.
What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?
I think State would have to be my favorite. Just the atmosphere and pressure are both intense and amazing at the same time. I also really enjoyed competing in the Hamline Elite Meet. It was very fun to have the opportunity to race athletes I normally am not able to, such as those in class AA.
Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?
Ethan Dahlen has consistently been extremely close competition and fun to run against. The past few years he has edged me out, but I am hoping to change that this year. Locally, Carter Mosher is one of my favorite people to compete against. He is probably my closest competition in the section, and I have had the privilege of becoming close friends with him the past couple years as well.
Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?
Most definitely my dad. Since day one he has been my number one supporter and my coach on the sideline. I would not be the athlete I am today in track & field without his help. I also have amazing track coaches, Kevin Lindell and Ruth Hayden, who have been extremely supportive in during my high school career.
What is a challenge you have had to face as an athlete?
In the summer of 2015 I suffered a labral tear in my right hip that wasn't diagnosed until spring of 2016. After the diagnosis, it was a possibility that I would not be able to compete in the hurdles that year. Through many different appointments and a plethora of hip exercises, thankfully I was able to have a great hurdle season.
What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?
I hope to bring back a couple State Championships in both the 110m High Hurdles and 300m Intermediate hurdles. I also hope to break both hurdle event records in my school. The man that currently holds the records was from Borup and ran against my dad, who was from Ada. When the schools consolidated, my dad's records were overwritten, so I hope to get them back in the Heitman name.
(Photo provided by Luke Heitman)
What do you look forward to most your senior year, and what is one piece of advice that you can give to younger athletes?
With track, I am looking forward to enjoy my last time running in the amazing State Meet at Hamline. It will definitely feel weird knowing that it will be my last opportunity to run there. For high school in general, graduating! I am definitely excited to take this next step towards college and everything else in the future.
Ironically, my advice to both younger athletes and students in general is to enjoy high school. I know it can be hard to at some points, but it is insane on how fast it flies by. Most people are in such a rush to graduate, they don't get to enjoy their senior year. They are too focused on leaving high school that they don't live in the moment. So, have fun and enjoy high school! Within athletics, take those extra couple seconds to look up in the stands and appreciate this amazing, yet limited, opportunity you are given.
Do you have any college plans?
The three main colleges I have been accepted into is Harvard University, Columbia University, and University of Minnesota, and I am still in the process of making my final decision. I plan on studying engineering, possibly chemical or biomedical.
What attracted you to those three schools most, and what will/might be the deciding factors between them?
I have wanted to attend an Ivy League or other type of prestigious school for a long time, and I set that has been one of my main high school goals. Luckily, I was able to make it into two! It's the unique academic challenge mixed with a diversity of outstanding students that have a wide variety of background in one location. Not to mention, the University of Minnesota is an amazing school also and it is a little closer to home. Both finances and the feel of the college will be the main determining factor as I will be touring both Harvard and Columbia at the end of the month.
Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?
My warm-up sessions tend to be pretty structured and intense, usually following the same order of exercises. I also have a specific sequence of events when loading into the starting blocks.
When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?
I am an avid video game player. I have my own gaming PC that I built, and will occasionally play on Xbox, but gaming is definitely one of my favorite things to do.
What video games do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy all types of video games, including first person shooters all the way to strategy based games. Yet, I really do not like sports video games, but that might just be because I'm bad at them. If I had to pick one genre, it would have to be any type of role-playing game.
Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.
I occasionally enjoy listening to smooth jazz while I study.