Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Track and the Seven Deadly Hollshwandners
Kris Brackmann | March 27, 2015, 7:32 p.m.
Amy Hollshwandner CM '17 is ridiculously fast. She can probably out-jump you, out-run you, and—oh, she can most likely launch a javelin farther than you can kick a field goal. Hollshwandner's ability to push her body in all of these events makes her Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' most impressive, and only, heptathlete.
As a heptathlete, Hollshwandner competes in seven different events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, javelin throw and 200- and 800-meter runs. While she is most confident in the hurdles, the Lafayette, Calif. native consistently performs well across the board.
"Her real strength is being able to do a lot of events well," associate head coach Glenn Stewart said. "What jumps out to me is just [her] raw potential. To go from not really being a heptathlete to where she can finish is motivation for me to keep working hard with her."
Such potential was noticed by former coach Kendra Reimer, who left the CMS program this year to coach at San Francisco State University. Reimer originally recruited Hollshwandner for the hurdles but then convinced her to try the heptathlon due to her depth of experience in various events in high school.
Outside of the heptathlon events, Hollshwandner is also SCIAC's defending 400-meter hurdle champion. She was part of last season's winning 4x400 relay team and has already posted personal records in both the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump this season.
"She wasn't a 100 hurdler, long jumper or high jumper in high school, so being able to come here and pick up all of these events in less than a year is impressive," Stewart said.
Despite her success, Hollshwandner remains humble and admits that she still puts pressure on herself to do her best in every event.
"I get nervous really easily, and I let how I've done earlier in the meet affect how I do later in the meet, so my goal is to have amnesia when it comes to doing events, especially when it comes to doing the heptathlon," Hollshwandner said. "Even if I did great, I don't want to let that get to my head."
In spite of the independent nature of track and field, Hollshwandner is very supportive of her fellow athletes and a dedicated team player.
"She is really passionate about the sport, and that's really refreshing when you have someone that really cares about the sport and their athletes," sprinting coach Emily Ramey said. "Amy especially wants to know how everyone is doing and encourages everybody, so she's really inspiring in that way."
In fact, coaches cite Hollshwandner's positive attitude as contagious and as an integral part of the team dynamic, making the season as much fun for the coaching staff as it is for her.
"For me it’s really great to coach her because she is willing to work hard, enthusiastic and the type of athlete that understands what we are trying to do in workouts," Stewart said. "That makes my work a lot easier."
Hollshwandner attributes this attitude to her genuine love for track and field and the fact that she is surrounded by great teammates.
"It's hard to know if my love for track comes from my teammates or more for my love for the sport," Hollshwandner said. "I do love competing, and I love seeing teammates do well. But the best feeling is finishing workouts together."
Last year Hollshwandner missed competing at Nationals in the heptathlon and 400-meter hurdles by just a few spots, so both she and Stewart have set reaching Nationals as the goal this year. In the meantime, Stewart vows to continue to help Hollshwandner maximize her potential and build her confidence.
Catch Hollshwandner and her Athenas in their next meet March 28 against Pomona-Pitzer, the University of La Verne and Whittier College. As Hollshwandner works to improve her performance in all 7 events, watch out for this multi-talented athlete to stride her way to the big show.