Jumps, Concussions, and Basketball - An Interview

Personal Records:

200 - 26.13

200 split- 25.3

400 split - 60.8

High Jump - 5-2

Long Jump - 18-0.5

Triple Jump - 38-4.5


MSHSL State Meet Record:

2017 4th Place Long Jump; 6th Place Triple Jump; 3rd Place 4x200 Relay; 4x400 Alternate

2016 8th Place Long Jump; 9th Place Triple Jump; 7th Place 4x200; 4x400 Relay Prelims

2014 7th Place Triple Jump


Where were you born?

I was born in Lewiston, Maine but we moved to Minnesota when I was 6 months old.


What sports did you play when you were younger?

Soccer was my first sport. I enjoyed being able to run around and score goals when I was on the field. As I got older I transitioned into more of a defensive player because I liked being able to kick the ball as hard as I could on goal kicks and use my speed to run back and stop incoming players from the other team. However I didn't spend a lot of time practicing, and as I grew up the competition caught up to me in ability. I was also in gymnastics from about ages 3 through 5 or 6, but had to give that up because I grew too fast, and got frustrated when I couldn't do a perfect cartwheel (I still can't).

Basketball started for me in first grade when I joined the community team. My earliest memory from that is one time attempting a shot during a game, but the ball bounced off the backboard and knocked out one of my front teeth!

In sixth grade I started tennis. I ended up playing until around junior year, but schoolwork got in the way, so I ended up quitting playing competitively. I knew I was probably not going to ever make varsity at our large school because there are so many great athletes that train year-round, while I was busy with track and basketball, so now I play as more of a hobby.


What are your high school sports and how have your teams done?

Basketball has always been an important sport for me since I have played it from first grade until twelfth grade.  I will not be playing it in college though.  Due to a lack of players the year above me, starting in eighth grade I always moved to the grade ahead of me to play; 8th grade I was on the freshman team; 9th grade I was on the B Squad; and 10th grade I was a swing player between JV and the Varsity.  I did not play full-time on the varsity until 12th grade. 

In 2015-16 we won State for the first time in school history. I mostly sat the bench that year, but sometimes if we were up by a lot the coach would let the JV girls close out the game, which was a very exciting for me as a sophomore. In 2016-17 we lost in the first round to Hopkins, but ended up placing 6th in the state. In 2017-18 we had a winning team but suffered many injuries and lost in the Section finals by a few points in the last minute. I was in concussion protocol during the last 2 weeks of the season, so I did not play at the sectionals.

I obviously also compete for my high school's track team, which I started in 8th grade.


What is concussion protocol and what does it involve?

The concussion I had this year was not as bad as one I had as a freshman. I had to spend a couple days in a dark room without any screens or bright lights, basically anything that involves "brain stimulation". Sometimes it might take a week or more if you have it really bad.  But this year I got out soon and tried to go to school.  However I did have some problems with headaches so I had to slow down a bit.  After about 2 weeks I went back to the doctor and she went through a list of symptoms and okayed me to begin exercising again.  Concussions are relatively common in basketball.


How did you get involved in track & field?

My 8th grade basketball coach, Jessica Matheson, noticed I was really fast so she sent me to Jane Reimer-Morgan (ntweetow a retired head track & field coach who still coaches cross country at Minnetonka).

Jane said that if I was as fast as Jessica said I was then I would be able to make the Skippers Varsity.  I have been on the varsity team since then.


Who else coaches you at Minnetonka?

We have several coaches.  Our head coach, John Steffen began training me in the high jump in the 8th grade, although I do not compete that event anymore.  I concentrate on the horizontal jumps and sprints now. Stef knows me really well. He is always able to make supportive comments and suggest improvements regardless of which event I am in.  He has me working on staying positive despite my expectations for myself.

I am also coached by the jumps coach, Kim Hoehne. She teaches AP physics at our high school and has known me since I was in her class as a freshman. Her knowledge of physics makes her uniquely qualified to coach jumps, as she can answer any questions I have with the scientific reasoning behind why I should change my technique a certain way or how biomechanics affect my jumps which I find especially helpful.

Last, I am close with coaches Krista Larsen and Kristine Jensen. Coach Krista makes our mid-distance workouts and is very gifted in knowing exactly how much we can take before we collapse. She is also very patient and plays along with any sass or complaints that manifest during a particularly hard work out. Although Coach Kristine is not my events coach, she always seeks me out to see how I'm doing and is contagiously kind and positive.


Have you had any other physical problems besides concussions in athletics?

As a freshman I developed tendonitis in my shins so bad I could barely walk.  This caused me to miss the 2015 state track & field meet after making it as an 8th grader the year before.  Since this happened late in the season, I rested and iced a lot during the beginning of that summer. Then after the season I went to see a physical therapist and started to work on special exercises to develop my strength and prevent the injury from happening again.


Who are some of your toughest opponents?

Madeline Tapper of Wayzata, Jodie Lipp of St. Cloud Tech, and the now graduated Michaela Baker of Plymouth Armstrong. Michaela is now at North Dakota State University. I feel a strong sense of camaraderie with these girls in that we always encourage each other or ask one another about how a jump felt. We wish each other good luck regardless of the fact that we compete against each other.


What are some of the differences between the state meet and regular meets?

Well for one thing you are with your entire team during regular meets so you have lots of support, and more people you are familiar with.  At State it's the best of the best, so it can be intimidating because because all of the competition is so close in ability.

There are also some differences in how the meet is set up. For jumps, your coach cannot just walk up to you any time they want to like they can during a regular meet.  The athlete must go to them.  Kim Hoehne, my jumps coach does yell out little improvements to me as I get out of the pit, and I can go to her after every jump if I want to.  But it is up to me to do that.  However, now that I have been through this routine several times it seems natural and doesn't bother me at all.