Q&A with Julia Kohnen

Sarah Loesch

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Senior track and field runner Julia Kohnen is finding success during her first full season participation in the sport. Kohnen, who competed in just two races during last year’s season, received her first All-American honor as an indoor track and field athlete and the second of her career. She is the first women’s track and field athlete to receive All-American honors since 2010. The honor follows her performance at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. She finished 8th in the 5,000 meters with a time of 17 minutes and 4.12 seconds. The Shield sat down with Kohnen to talk about how she feels about the honor and discuss the plans she has for after master’s degree.

The Shield: After competing in cross country, was it a given that you would compete in track and field?

Kohnen: I decided last year to compete in cross country and track and field. So I pretty much knew they came together.

The Shield: How does track and field differ from playing more of a team sport like soccer that you were used to?

Kohnen: Oh yeah, it’s completely different. Track is much more of an individualized sport, even more than cross country. Soccer, you can’t train on your own, you can’t practice, on your own. If the team has practice everyone needs to be there. But with track, with the weather we had- the snow storms and everything- we did a lot of our workouts on the treadmill. A lot of your training is on your own. It’s what you do. It’s what you put into it. At the meets and everything, it’s individualized. It depends on how you perform whether you advance or not.

The Shield: Are you happy with the decision you made to compete in cross country and track and field for the first time this year?

Kohnen: Oh yes, like 100 percent. I never thought I would enjoy it this much because it is something so new. I’ve never done it before, but I’m so glad I decided to do it.

The Shield: How did it feel to win an All-American honor?

Kohnen: It’s definitely something I did not expect. When coach was talking to me and asking me to try out for the team, he said, ‘you could potentially be an All-American.’ I thought he was crazy. Now I have two All-Americans for one year and I did soccer and never got one.

The Shield: Are you excited for the start of the outdoor track and field season?

Kohnen: I think I will like outdoor track because I like the outdoors, I like being outside, and the track is bigger so it’s not as many laps around in continuous circles. I’m really excited for it.

The Shield: How do you prepare for your races and meets?

Kohnen: We do weekly mileage like everyone does. Also, the week before races you want to watch what you are eating, get the carbs that are necessary before race day- the protein. You want to make sure to get all the right nutrients. I try to watch that. You can do an ice bath a couple days before, make sure you’re hydrated and your muscles are rested and ready to go. Just the basic things most athletes do before an event.

The Shield: Do you have any athletic plans for the future?

Kohnen: Well, my college athletic seasons are over. I’ve used every season that I can unfortunately. But I plan to move home and running has become, in just like this past year, really important and a big part of my life. I want to continue running, whether it be for fun doing half marathons or 5ks. People have talked to me about getting involved in running competitively; I’m not sure if I want to do that, but I know I will stay active. I will probably be on soccer teams for fun. It’s just weird that college competitiveness is over.

The Shield: What are your career plans for after graduation?

Kohnen: I will have my MBA this summer and I will have my undergrad with a focus in marketing. My goal is to work for marketing at a company in St. Louis.

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