Audrey Knupp

Smucker uses indoor track as cross training for the soccer season.

Aaron Smucker

Q: Describe your favorite memory/moment in your sport.

A: One of my favorite memories in the sport is probably going to the Liberty meets. Those were always very eventful and it is nice to see everyone compete. 

Q: What is the biggest takeaway that you have learned playing this sport?

A: Making new friends, and not taking stuff for granted. This is the only time you’ll be able to ever play a high school sport, and if you don’t take the chance to try out you’re gonna regret it later.

Q: Describe a challenge you overcame in your sport and how you moved on.

A: The transition between like long distance and short distance was my biggest hurdle because I was scared to do short distance, then Denlinger reassured me. Denlinger noticed that I tend to run a lot faster near the end of the race than at the beginning. I was talking to him about it and [it was good because] he was going to be the short distance coach for indoor track.

Q: How have you grown in the past four years of playing?

A: How I compete and my mindset going into a race, and preparing myself mentally and physically changed.

Q: How has your experience in your sport contributed to who you are now?

A:  I used to be a very gurgle person. I still am but I used to say what ‘s on my mind and with no filter. To help me with that, like, because it helped me, reduce my stress and everything.

Q: How was your experience with doing both track and soccer?

A: It was actually very delightful. For indoor track, I was getting ready for tryouts, and getting back into shape.It really helps with that, and you could tell the difference from who was ready to run and who wasn’t ready to run during [the seasons.]

Q: Why did you decide to stay with Indoor track?

A: I stuck with indoor track because in my first year I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I really did because of the people that were in it. The connections I had coming in from other sports or other kids from cross country because I went freshman year. It just changed how the environment and it was so I stuck with it because there’s people [that I] actually enjoy being with.

Q: What was your most embarrassing moment doing your sport?

A: Probably, [the] time I did hurdles. I kept hitting the hurdle, which was kind of embarrassing because I didn’t know how to do it and  the coach asked if I was interested in doing it and I said yes. 

Q: How was your team dynamic?

A: We did interact outside of running sometimes we got together. We will talk to each other in the halls or we had classes together. The bus rides are always interesting and funny especially when  Mika [was] in the back of the bus and Aliyah [because] everything was just funny. Sometimes, we got serious but we all just connected as a family and Denlinger would say the most funny stuff.

Q: Do you miss Micah, was he like a role model to you?

A: My parents have known Micah’s family for a while. He’s kind of like a role model to me because he’s also adopted and has siblings. He took me under his wing in freshman year. I missed seeing him in the halls and playing soccer with him. He was a good person to run with and talk to. 

Q: How has indoor track helped you with soccer?

A: Indoor track has really helped with my stamina and just the way I can pace myself. Instead of running myself into the ground in a short amount of time.

Q: Why should someone join an indoor track team?

A: The coaches are great, both of them. Coach Hertzler and coach Denlinger, and our other assistant coaches know what they’re talking about. They really want to help you as an individual grow in the sport.

Q: What advice would you give to freshmen?

A:  Don’t be scared to try out a new event or trial for new teams. Even if you think you won’t make it. You can surprise yourself on what you can accomplish.

Q: If you do not run indoor track at the collegiate level, what sport would be your second option?

A: That’s the debate that we are talking about with me and my parents. If I want to pursue my careers in sports or in my career and college. So, I don’t know right now, if I’m going to play soccer or do track. So it’s up in the air.

Q: If you were to go to, what schools would you consider going to?

A: Bridgewater, Liberty, because my dad knows the Liberty coach, and probably EMU. EMU would be a last option, if I wanted to play.

Q: Would you like to add anything about indoor track?

A: You will practice outside a lot of the time but you just have to learn how not to complain about it, just deal with how cold it is outside. At the end of the day, we all hate [the cold], but it’s helping us so that’s good.

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