Q and A: Cross Country Standout Amy Kolin

Senior earns Scholar Athlete of the Month for October 

It's all about making a great first impression. 

That's exactly what senior Amy Kolin from the Eastern Washington University cross country team did during her first competition as an Eagle.

The transfer from Grand Valley State was named Big Sky Athlete of the Week (Sept. 18) after her impressive performance at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Wash. She placed 12th overall, beating 14 University of Washington women, who were ranked No. 3 at the time. In addition she beat all of the regionally-ranked women of Nevada. 

Kolin is from Ypsilanti, Mich., and transferred to Eastern from Grand Valley State. She is currently in graduate school at Eastern in physical therapy, and had a 3.88 grade point average as an undergraduate.

Kolin not only made a great first impression but also left a lasting one, after her performance at the Big Sky Conference Championships on Saturday (Oct. 30). She placed sixth in the 5,000-meter women's race, crossing the finish line in 16:06.6 and helping the Eagles secure a seventh-place team finish.

Kolin will be back in action on Saturday (Dec. 4) when the Eagles debut their indoor track team in a dual meet against Montana at the Third Annual Candy Cane Invitational in Cheney, Wash.

Q: You started your career at Grand Valley State. How did you end up at Eastern?

A: "I was looking for a physical therapy school out West, hoping to try something new and to get out of my comfort zone a little bit.  One day I was just looking on the internet for schools out West and Eastern came up. I had all of the prerequisites for the program so I applied and ended up getting an interview. And I got in. I chose Eastern because I knew the program was very prestigious. It wasn't until after the fact that I decided to run."

Q: How are you able to juggle track and school, especially in a program that is very demanding? 

A: "It's nice that running is something you can do on your own and doesn't require you to be at practice every day. It's definitely hard and I have to study every weekend to catch up from what I missed during the weekdays when I could have been studying. When my classmates are studying, I'm going for runs. But it's definitely doable. It also helps that running acts as an escape from school." 

Q: What is your favorite thing about Eastern? 

A: "I really like living in Cheney. I really like that it's a small town, it's very similar to where I did my undergraduate studies -- it feels like home. I love the scenery and there are so many trails to run on. I don't have to dread going on runs because I always know I will be running somewhere cool. It's really beautiful here" 

Q: What is the best thing about running at Eastern? 

A: "I really like being here because it's a lot less intense. School is my main priority and Coach Zeller is really flexible with my work load. It's nice not to only have to focus on winning." 

Q: What were some of your goals heading into your first Big Sky Championship competition? 

A: "I really wanted to improve upon my race in Montana, where I was up against a lot of the girls who are in the conference. I wanted to be all conference – top five would have been great but top ten was what I was shooting for." 

Q: How did you feel after your conference race? 

A: "I felt good. It was awesome having conference at home and having the entire track team there. Feeding off of that positive energy helped a lot." 

Q: What is your motivation during a race?

 A: "When I'm at a point in the race, where I just want to stop, I just think about not wanting to regret anything after the race is over. It's so easy to think back and say 'oh, why didn't I do this or change this?' I also rely a lot on God to be my strength during the race because I know I can't do it on my own." 

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual? 

A: "I always have a cookies and cream Powerbar and a Smart Water, and I have a specific sports bra that I like to race in. I have toned down the pre-race rituals, though. When I was in high school and during my undergraduate school, I was ridiculous. One time I forgot my uniform because I was so focused on my ritual. So, I have been a lot more laid back since then." 

Q: What has been your most embarrassing moment in sports? 

A: "During my freshman year, I over-slept my alarm and was late to practice. As I was running through the trails to practice, the men's team was running back from their workout. As they were yelling at me and teasing me, I tripped over a tree root and face-planted right in front of them." 

Q: What is your most prized possession? 

A: "I guess it would be my fiancé. He's not really a possession. If I ever lost anything it would affect me the most if I lost him." 

Q: Your fiancé, Chris Hammer, is the assistant cross country coach. How is it involving him in your running career at EWU?

A: "It's really cool that Chris is a coach. I would say that he is a little bit more motivated than me, so when I don't want to do a workout anymore, he brings me back into perspective."



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