Freshmen track athletes Tanner Akers and Anna Hogan competed in their first collegiate meet on Jan. 17, months before they would have started their season in high school.
For most collegiate athletes, the transition from high school to collegiate sports can be tough. Seasons are two to three times longer at the collegiate level.
“The length of the season is a big change,” Akers said. “We have a whole indoor season instead of just a few meets at the beginning of the year.”
The workouts are also harder.
“They’re easier than I thought they would be,” Hogan said. ” I thought I would be dying, not as bad but it’s a lot more jumping. “We jumped maybe once a week in high school, and now we have at least two jumping workouts a week.”
Hogan did triple jump, long jump and sprint relays in high school. Now she focuses on triple jump.
Akers ran everything from the 100 to the 400 meter in high school as well as relays, but now focuses on shorter sprints.
“Muscle memory helps and eventually my body will get used to it,” Akers said. “The upperclassmen seem used to it.”
Akers said he knew he wanted to compete collegiately in either football or track and field. He decided on the latter.
Hogan saw success her senior year, so she joined the team at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She does not regret the decision.
“My favorite part is all the new things I’m learning,” Hogan said. “My entire running form has been changed, and I learned so much more about jumping in just a few months.”
Akers said he likes having a coach specific to every event, and he could already see improvement in his starts with the one-on-one contact.
Both Hogan and Akers said they liked how welcoming the upperclassmen were.
“It’s nothing like high school,” Hogan said. “They give me suggestions better form and other advice.”
The time consumption was an adjustment for both freshmen. However, Akers said he almost feels less busy than he was in high school.
“I was a three-sport athlete in high school, but one thing I find different is that I actually study in college,” Akers said. “In high school, I could take a bad quiz or test and do better on homework, but now quizzes and tests are the only grades that count. I find myself studying for three hours at a time.”
Hogan said her time management skills improved, and now she manages to work a few hours a week. She also shared her least favorite part of the sport.
“I don’t like how quickly you get shin splints,” Hogan said.
At the meet on Jan. 17, Hogan triple jumped, while Akers ran the 60 meter dash as well as the 300 meter dash, a unique distance for the meet.
Both athletes were satisfied with their first ever collegiate performances.
“I was a little nervous, but I was very excited,”Akers said. ” I feel like I did fairly well for the first meet. I definitely found out what I need to improve on throughout the season.”
Hogan said she felt pretty laid back heading into the meet because she only performed in one event. However, once she started jumping her adrenaline kicked in.
“Considering I’m a freshman and I have a lot to learn when it comes to jumping, it was an okay day,” Hogan said. “My goal for the next meets are to keep seeing improvement in my form and distances. As long as I am fixing the problems that I am working with now, I will be happy.”