Athlete of the Week Archive

Dec. 21, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -


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Amanda Hopper


What does breaking the War Memorial Fieldhouse 4x400 meter record mean to you and what could it mean for the rest of the season?
"It was a hard record to break because it's difficult to run in the Fieldhouse, so it was nice to be able to run a good enough time to break the record. As far as the season is concerned, there is no better way to start the season then to break a record. It really shows us that all of our hard work is already paying off and hopefully we're going to be really good this year."

Did you always want to come to Wyoming and did you ever imagine that you would have done as well as you have up to this point in your career?
"Honestly, I never really thought about where I was going to go to school or what I was going to do really. Then I talked to Shauna (Smith) at a meet in high school and she asked me whether or not I wanted to be a number or a person, and when I made my visit to Wyoming, I knew that I was going to be a person here. Coach Yentes has an incredible record for his ability to do well with athletes, so it was a great decision to come to UW, and I never would have imagined that I could have done this well."

How important has the new Memorial 8 Track been for you personally and for the program?
"Personally, it's been great because it's given me and the entire team a place to work out like we've never been able to before. Already this fall, we were out on the track at least three times a week, and we were able to do sprint workouts and we've never been able to do that, so already our training has been so much better just because we now have the facilities to do it. As far as the program is concerned, it's given us a lot more of a recruiting ground to work with and I know that will help a lot."

How difficult was it for you to have to sit out last year and being unsure as to how everything would unfold for your senior season?
"At first, I didn't really think that it was a big deal and when I'd gone to the doctor, I thought that everything was going to be fine. Then, the cardiologist said that I'd have to sit out for at least six months and I may not be able to fully recover. So of course that was really hard for me to take being a person who has run track pretty much my whole life. So it was very difficult, but I tried really hard stay a part of the team and come to practice every day so that I could give the girls some encouragement. However, the longer I sat out, the more I got see the importance of utilizing every workout and understanding that you're not going to die by doing a hard workout. It just really showed me how easy it can be taken away. It was definitely a blessing in disguise and it's been a blessing to be able to come back and compete for a final year."

What is you major?
"My major is elementary education."

Would like to take your track and field career farther after college, or do you want to settle down and start teaching?
"I guess it really depends on what happens in the next two years. Not being able to run last year meant that I had another year of eligibility, which gave me another year to figure out what I was going to do with school, and also it made my fifth year a Olympic year, so it's given me a lot of opportunities. If I happen to do really well next year, then I may have the opportunity to make the Olympic trials and train with my coach. Had last year been my final season, I wouldn't have had that opportunity and maybe not wanted to stick with it. So, if I happen to run well enough, I'd love to move ahead with it, but it's all up in the air right now."

What CD are you currently listening to in your car?
"The CD in my car right now is Frank Sinatra."

Do you have any special holiday plans?
"No, I'm just going to stay in Laramie. My boyfriend is here so I'm going to stay here and hang out with him and then go home for a couple days, so nothing too exciting."

What is you very favorite thing to do outside of track?
"I like to just sit back and watch old `Futurama' episodes, or `Family Guy'; something that doesn't require a whole lot of attention. I have a golden retriever, so I like to play with her and take her for walks."

What is your favorite place to eat while on the road?
"Well, every time we go to Colorado Springs, we always get to go to Olive Garden and I love Olive Garden. It's funny because we all have to run like six blocks to get there and get a table because the bus has to park a long ways away. It's just fun and it seems to happen just about every year."