Austin's Amber - An Interview

(Photo provided by Amber Hansen)

First of all, how did you first get involved with track and field?

When I was really young, I participated in multiple Austin Noon Kiwanis track meets, and loved participating in them. In middle school, I knew I wanted to try volleyball and track. Ever since 6th grade I've been in volleyball, basketball, and track. 

What are all your personal record?

My personal records are 117'3 in discus and a 40'11 in shot put. My personal record in shot is the school record at my school, Austin High School.

Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

Since 6th grade, I have participated in volleyball, basketball, and track. When I was younger I participated in dance, soccer, swimming, and tennis.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

My favorite competition I have been in is when I threw my personal record and broke our school's record in the shot put. 

Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

My favorite people to compete against are discus/shot putter Megan Gehrke, a junior from Faribault, MN, and graduated John Marshall discus/shot putter Nicole Fautsch. 

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?

The people who have been the most helpful are some camp coaches, Josh Blaschko and Becky Springman, and my school coaches, Travis Wayne and Gabe Nelson. 

What is a challenge you have had to face as an athlete?

Growing up as an athlete, I have faced many injuries. These have ranged from sprains, strains, and also a few tears. Some are harder to overcome than others. My most recent and probably my most stressful injury,  formed during my senior volleyball season when I could no longer jump due to knee pain in both knees, I was worried that I would no longer be able to participate in sports, but through intensive physical therapy I'm stronger than before. 

When recovering from your injuries, particularly in-season injuries, how do you help keep yourself focused and motivated to you can pick up where you left off?

Not gonna lie, when I get hurt during the season it throws me off big time. The first step for me is to figure out how to get better, whether it be resting and elevating/icing the injury or physical therapy, and work hard to get back to my pre-injury state. My focus is get better first, then push to do better than I had been before my injury to make up for time lost.

Now that the season is well underway, how are you feeling about where you are at training and performance-wise?

At the beginning of the season I was excited and improving with every practice and meet. A couple weeks in I began to doubt myself when I was not able to perform better than my previous season and I had some doubts on whether or not I was good enough to do well in my section and go to state. Recently however, I was able to break my slump and things began to click again. I was in the range of distances I wanted to be in and only increasing. 

(Photo provided by Amber Hansen)

As a senior, how have your perspectives, strategies, or attitudes changed since you first started throwing, what advice would you give to younger track athletes?

As a freshman and sophomore, I actually just did my events for fun. By my junior year my point of view changed a bit and my strategy changed as well. I figured out that I had a lot of potential to excel in my events and not just be there for fun. Junior year is when I began to weight lift for throwing, and not just because my coaches told me to. This was when I threw the school record, which made me believe in myself even more. This year changed even more. I am no longer just competing for high school, but also to get ready for college track. I am extremely dedicated to get better. Almost every practice I work individually with my throw coaches for around a hour after everyone else leaves, then I lift later that night. The advice I would give younger track athletes is that you should always go to practice with an open mind and positive attitude. I also want to encourage younger athletes to apply themselves in their area to reach your potential. Overall, you should always have fun!

What are your main goals for this track season?

I have many goals for this track season. One of them is to get a personal best in shot put and discus, and if I break my shot put record, I will have broken the school record again. Another goal I have is to compete at the State Track Meet.

Do you have any college plans?

In the fall of 2017, I will be attending college at University of North Dakota as a Biology major. I also will be on the Women's Track and Field Team as a thrower.

What were some of the things that attracted you to UND?

To be completely honest, I had not even thought about looking at North Dakota colleges. I decided to look at UND when I was contacted by their track and field throwing coach, Drew Jones. Within a week I went to the college for an official visit, and right away fell in love with the school. From the moment I stepped on campus I knew something about this college felt right. When I meet with one of the athletic advisors I began to get a real sense of belonging. I felt a huge support system from the staff, coaches, and other athletes. By the end of the night I knew the school and athletic program was right for me. 

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

I don't have any rituals or routines or superstitions. Before any competition, I just try to relax. 

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

If I'm not at track, you can find me working out or hanging out with family and friends. 

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

This is not bizarre, but it is very interesting. I have free-hand rock climbed in both US mountain ranges, the Appalachians and the Rockies!