Athlete of the Week: Anabel Knoll

Anabel Knoll, freshman biology major, is new to the world of cross country, but that hasn’t stopped her from being wildly successful in her first year at NSU.

Before coming to NSU, Knoll had almost no experience in either cross country or track and field. However, she was a very accomplished triathlete. Knoll took first in the women’s junior semifinals in both the 2014 and 2015 Tiszaujvaros ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup, while representing her home country of Germany.

However, now Knoll has shifted her focus to the realm of cross country. After only one season with the Sharks, Knoll has become a major component of the cross country team.

Knoll was the only female runner to advance to the 2015 NCAA Division II Championships in Joplin, Mo. She placed 55 overall, out of 247 runners from 32 teams. Knoll’s time of 21:42 for a 6K was good enough to set a new institution record.

Due to her outstanding performance over the course of the 2015 season, Knoll was named the Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year.

Knoll is currently preparing to compete in her first season of track and field at NSU.

How did you start running?
“I’ve been running for 10 years, and I’ve also swam for about 15 years. Normally, I do triathlons, but this is the first time I’ve done cross-country and track and field.”

Was anyone else in your family a runner?
“My dad was a triathlete. He tried to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2000. He was a really great runner.”

What do you think is the hardest aspect of running?
“I think that it’s hard because it’s an individual sport. You have other runners around you, but you’re still alone. So you have to do the 5K or the 6K on your own. Nobody helps you.”

How would you describe yourself as an athlete?
“I think I’m really focused and disciplined. I’m also a perfectionist. So when I do something, I want to do it as well as possible. I want to reach all of the goals that I set.”

Do you have any goals or expectations set for yourself?
“I want to try to run under 17 minutes for a 5K this year. That’s the biggest goal for the season. And maybe qualify for Nationals, but we’ll see.”

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a runner?
“I’m very proud to have gone to Nationals for cross-country this year. It’s my first season as a runner, so it’s a big deal for me. Also, running a school record time has made me proud.”

Have you had any influential coaches?
“At home, my dad was my coach, so he’s had a big influence on me. He’s like my idol. But also Coach Warner ― he’s really good. He’s serious sometimes but other times is fun. So we all enjoy having fun with him; it’s a good combination.”

Are there any professional athletes whom you look up to?
“I mean, the first one would be my dad. For me, he’s the biggest person [I look up to.] But the other person would be Jan Fredeno; he’s the 2008 Olympic Triathlon champion.

Do you plan to continue running after college?
“Yes, I definitely think so.”

What do you usually do before races?

“I listen to music when I warm up, and before the start, it has to be quiet so I can focus. I go through the race and think about what I need to do and what the important points of the course are. I have to concentrate and think through the race, so that’s what I always do before.”

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

“I like to go out with friends, listen to music and go to restaurants. Normal things, I think.”

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