Catching up with Amanda Van Dyke
May 13, 2010
Sophomore shot putter Amanda Van Dyke will compete in her first Big 12 Championship of the year this weekend and will use her expertise from last season to reach her goal of scoring for Texas in Columbia.
Van Dyke missed the 2010 indoor season due to injury but is back and even more eager to compete due to her absence. The sophomore completed the 2009 campaign on a high note with a then personal-best shot put of 48-6 (14.78m) for fifth place at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Championships. It was at this meet that Van Dyke knew she could make a bigger impact for the Horns.
But being forced to miss the indoor season was not in the plans for the Pflugerville native, so when outdoor season started back up, she was ready to prove herself. So far this season, Van Dyke has PR'd in each of the last two meets, including her most recent mark of 49-7.25 (15.12m), good for eighth in the conference.
Van Dyke recently sat down with TexasSports.com to talk about this weekend's Big 12 Championship and her season so far.
On goals for Big 12's this weekend: My main goal is to get in the top eight and if I PR I will definitely stay in the top eight and probably move up. My training has been really good and I've been throwing 51 feet consistently this entire week.
On how being out during the indoor season helped her in outdoors: It made me want to compete more and really want to make it my job to do better. My desire to help the team out has gotten a lot stronger and being on the sidelines also helped my technique a lot. I was able to watch more closely what the other throwers were doing and I definitely think it helped my technique improve.
On the chemistry of the throwing group: It is a good six of us and we are really close. At track meets we are always together. We really try to bring in as many points as we can from our events and remind each other constantly that we have to get a good bulk of the points to win. I think that definitely helps us in practice and with our motivation. I've also known Helen Ubabuike since fifth grade and we've been competing against each other for a long time, so it's fun to be back throwing with her and helping each other out.
On being a sophomore and competing in Big 12's: Last year, I was so nervous competing at the Big 12s. I couldn't sleep the night before and the day of the meet I was a mess. This year I feel a lot more calm and trust myself a lot more. Being a sophomore helps because I know what to expect from the meet.
On ending with a good note last year: It gave me confidence because the U.S. Junior Championships is where my technique started changing and I was like man if I can get this part of my technique down I can be good. So Coach Brimmer and I have been working on that and it has definitely been improving. I would say my confidence has definitely gone up.
On why her technique changed: I finally started really listening and paying attention because I realized that I took all of the advice of Coach Brimmer, I could be so much better. I had always been the type of person to try and do stuff on my own and just use my athletic ability but you can't do that now in college because everyone you're competing against is so good so you have to start using your technique.
On knowing the competition: It is helpful knowing my competition because we compete against a lot of Big 12 schools throughout the season. The throwers in our league are very good and there are four ranked in the top 20 right now. So if I throw with them then I am in good shape and it is good motivation to be around.
On feelings of the whole team going into Big 12's: We know that everyone needs to contribute because we have lost people who would have provided points so everyone knows what they need to do and I think everyone is really excited to get out there and compete.