By Kristie Adams, photo and graphics editor
While others were running around with umbrellas or avoiding the rain, Tina Clausen, Senior, spent her morning getting ready to compete in her second day of the heptathlon on Thursday at the K.T. Woodman meet at Wichita State University. Clausen was the only athlete representing Friends in the heptathlon event.
Clausen has played sports for as long as she can remember.
“I started out with soccer, t-ball and basketball,” Clausen said. “When I moved to Kansas I switched over to volleyball, track and basketball because it’s what my new school offered.”
Due to the competitive team atmosphere, basketball has always been Clausen’s favorite. She played ball for two years, at Friends until she dropped the sport for an equally familiar sport, track.
“I just realized that I was better at track than I was at basketball,” Clausen said.
With spring 2011 being her first completive season, in track, Clausen started off with pole-vault, high jump and long jump. After having a successful track season, she came back ready to start the 2012 season at the top of her game.
This year, due to a small girls’ team, Clausen has added triple jump and the 4x100 meter relay to her specialties. Another surprising addition to her profile is the heptathlon. After Coach Cole Davis sat down and did some number crunching, Clausen proved to be an excellent candidate for this particularly hard event.
“He just decided that I could do it,” Clausen said.
A heptathlon is a series of seven events usually spread out throughout two days, consisting of the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and the 800 meter run.
With a unique scoring system it was predicted that Clausen could score 3700 points, which would make her a national qualifier. With that thought in place, Clausen started training.
“First thing I started on was javelin,” said Clausen. “Thankfully, I’m good at it and it came really natural to me.”
After starting up javelin practice, Clausen soon picked up on hurdling techniques, 800 meter strategies and throwing strength. All this hard work earned her KCAC field athlete of the week after the Friends Enduro Classic Meet on March 30 and 31.
Although Clausen missed the national standard on April 12 by less than 300 points she is hoping for another chance before the end of the season.
Even with her heptathlon training aside, Clausen proves to be a priceless contributor to the team. With an expected seven events at conference, Clausen takes the workload with pride.
“It doesn’t bother me too much,” Clausen said. “It’s the feeling of winning conference and knowing you’re a part of it, it’s a special feeling.”
Not only is Clausen a fierce competitor, but she proves to be an invaluable leader as she encourages her team through the season.
“She’s one of a kind,” teammate Caitlin Kozak said. “She always knows what to say to lift me up so I can finish a workout.”
Trying to bring positive energy and laughter to practice and encouragement and support to meets is Clausen’s main goal.
“I try to cheer for everyone I can,” Clausen said. “Even when I’m competing, I still cheer.”
“She’s the support system of the team,” said Kozak. “Without her, practice would not be the same.”
Rather it is training for her new heptathlon events or even just helping in an event when she can; Clausen demonstrates passion for her sport and love her team.
“She’s always a good sport,” said Kozak. “She’s determined to finish strong.”