Track & Field: Schultz looking to shine on the track in final season
Megan Finneran | Tuesday, March 2, 2010
A stereotypical college life is one of partying, enjoying life and doing nothing productive as often as possible. Those Saturday or Sunday morning jogs around campus you vowed to run become few and far between, and exercising sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.
For Irish senior sprinter Joanna Schultz, this lifestyle was never an option.
Schultz began running in seventh grade, and thanks to relentless encouragement from her mom, she never stopped.
“I started running because I wasn’t athletic enough to play softball, and everyone in middle school did all three seasons of sports, so I had to do something,” Schultz said.
Schultz graduated high school with an impressive resume that included winning outdoor state titles in the 200- and 400-meter races all four years. After winning champiosnhips and breaking records across the board in Wisconsin, she decided Notre Dame was the next step.
“Notre Dame was a big name with a small and comfortable feeling,” Schultz said. “It was close enough, yet far enough away from home, and the girls on the team made me feel welcome.”
In her junior year she took eighth in the 400 at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Nationals, earning the title of All-American, which she called the best memory of her career thus far. From there, Schultz’s success continued into the outdoor season where she won the 400 hurdles at the Big East 2009 outdoor championships with a time of 53.12 seconds. She advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regionals, where she placed fifth and barely missed out on the chance to compete in the national championships. Now Schultz is more determined than ever.
After having surgery on her stomach last September, Schultz has recovered and become stronger than ever. She won the 400 at the Big East Indoors this year with a time of 53.16 seconds, setting a new conference record. In her final season, Schultz said she knows it is her last chance to shine, and that is exactly what she intends to do — even as she looks back on three years with the team.
“Track has made me realize I’m a little tougher than I once though I was, has helped me avoid the freshman 15, and has given me some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Schultz said.
The indoor season will conclude with the NCAA Championships March 12-13, where Schultz hopes to end her indoor career on a high note before continuing into her final outdoor season.
For the time being, she plans to continue making contributions to the team she has grown to love.
“I will miss the team aspect of Notre Dame track,” Schultz said. “I run, lift and travel with these people every single day and I will miss all of them very much.”