Athlete of The Week: Michelle Bauer

Freshman international business major Michelle Bauer has had plenty of adjustments to make during her first week as a Shark student and athlete on the women’s cross country team. With the FAU Invitational coming up, I sat down with her to find out how she got here, how her transition has been going and how she’s preparing for the meet.

I did read your bio online and I saw you’re from Pennsylvania. What made you want to come to NSU?

“Well, I really started looking more [for a school] in the south because I wanted more of the business [opportunities] and I really wanted to focus on the international part. There’s a lot of culture down here. It wasn’t unheard of for me to come down here because my sister goes to Embry Riddle, which is in Daytona Beach. So, now we’re still in the same state.”

So, why do you want to have this focus on international business?

“I really like traveling. It was more of a process of elimination for what I want to do as a job in the future. I knew I couldn’t do anything with blood or anything in the health field.”

You said your sister goes to Embry Riddle. Was that a big factor in deciding to come to South Florida?

“Yeah, that was one of the factors. I could’ve looked anywhere around the world, really, for a culture shock. But, having her down here was definitely part of the decision to come.”

How did you get into cross country?

“I started doing 5K’s. It was my cousin really who inspired me to run. We did this “Frosty Fun Run” right before Christmas. It was my first run ever … my time was 24:19 when I finished. So, my cousin and I put it up on our wall and our goal was to do it again next year and see if we’d improve. That really started me running and I just kept on going.”

How old were you?

“Sixth grade? I’d say probably around 12 or 13.”

Wow, that’s pretty young. I also read in your bio that you coached a basketball team or were involved in it?

“Yeah, I’ve been doing basketball as well since fourth grade. Also, in summer times, or whenever I wasn’t in cross country or track season, I’d go down to the middle school and elementary school and do a lot of helping out with the younger girls and teaching them the skills.”

Would you say that you prefer one over the other?

“I prefer basketball but I’m only 5 foot 3. It’s kinda not an option for me to play that.”

What was it like coming to NSU’s cross country team and meeting your new teammates?

“It was really nice when I came because I came for a visit last February and right away the whole team made me feel welcome. I was walking to my dorm one day and I passed under one of the common rooms or something and I just heard my name shouted from above. They were so hospitable that they already knew my name and were interested in actually meeting me. It wasn’t like we were just there to run against each other. So, that was when I decided to come to the school. It’s been nice to have them here. Especially because when I run now, it’s been a transition. In Pennsylvania we have, like, no humidity…so it’s been nice getting used to that and having them cheer you on.”

Would you say that the humidity is the biggest adjustment you have to deal with?

“Oh, yeah. I’ve run a lot of miles in my summertime training so adjusting to the mileage here isn’t bad at all; it’s just the weather. Getting up in the morning it is really humid but if you wait until the middle of the day it’ll just be really hot from the sun. So, you can’t win either way.”

So, you’ll be competing for the first time soon; September first at FAU. Are you excited? Nervous? A little bit of both?

“I’d say a little bit of both. I’m definitely excited because it’s going to be the first big race, especially coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, we don’t really have huge meets like this until you go to the state meet. I’ve only had three or four state meets and big races but now in college every meet is a big meet. But, I’m also nervous because I’d like to do well and I’d like to show the coach what I am capable of doing.”

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Not really. A lot of my teammates do. [For me,] it’s not every race, but a lot of the time I’ll just eat a pre-race chocolate.

Why chocolate?

It started with one of the girls on our track team back home and we were in the middle of a meet. She thought she was finished with one of her events and wanted a snack and I said ‘Oh, I’m finished too.’ So we went over to the snack bar and they were giving out chocolate bars and so we each downed our own chocolate bar. Literally less than five minutes later, the coach looks at us and says ‘You’re running in the four-by-four at the end of the race,’ and we both just looked at each other because we knew we had just eaten that chocolate bar. Our team actually won. Then, after that the girl would bring chocolate and we’d still eat chocolate beforehand.

Do you think you’re going to eat chocolate before this race?

Probably! I mean who doesn’t like chocolate?

Photo: J. Kopec

Caption: Bauer has been adjusting well to the running mileage, but says the humidity has been a challenge.

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