Feb. 21, 2014
Fifth-year senior Sara Nitz discusses the opportunity to compete in her fifth year, improvements she's looking to make before Big Tens and also reflects on her career at Michigan.On the opportunity to come back for a fifth year of competition ... "I was really glad I had the opportunity to come back for a fifth year. I didn't really come into my own her at Michigan until last year so I'm really looking forward to being able to make another contribution to the team. Getting second at outdoor Big Tens last year was probably the great moment of my track career and that was probably one of the biggest smiles I've had on my face in a very long time. It was pretty big motivation for me. I wanted to come back and I wanted to do it again, except I'm going for gold this time."
On competing at home ... "Home meets are nice because we don't have to travel. It's one of the more comfortable meets. It's nice to see everyone do well at home in front of our crowd. But at the end of the day it's another meet and we have to go out and compete."
On improvements she's looking to make before Big Tens ... "I haven't really been performing to what I feel my potential is. We've changed my style of approach and moved my steps up a bit. I just need to jump -- I need to think about jumping high first and then clearing the bar second. Big Tens should be great. I love SPIRE -- it's a great facility and I jump well there so I just need to not worry about other jumpers and do my best."
On the team competing well at SPIRE last weekend ... "Last weekend was pretty great. There were so many stellar performances from everyone across the board. There are so many people to shout out -- Aaron Howell in the pentathlon, our DMR, Cindy Ofili -- just to name a few. That's a really great stepping stone to build on. I think as a team we're just really strong this year. We're a deep team in every event. I have a good feeling about Big Tens."
On her future plans with her mechanical engineering degree ... "I have a job lined up upon graduation -- I'll go work full time at Dow Chemical. I'm pretty excited about that. I co-opped there over the past summer and fall and I really like the company and the people I'm going to be working with. It's a little weird to be reaching the end of my five years here. It's going to be really weird to not be in a competitive sport anymore -- I'm not quite sure what I'll do with myself. But it's a new step and it's going to be exciting."
On how Michigan has helped her grow academically and athletically ... "I have grown a lot as a person here at Michigan in so many ways. It's Michigan so it's obviously a great school -- that's one of the reasons I came here is because they have a stellar engineering program. I think that's really help set me up for the future. As far as track and field goes, it's a great experience. Looking back on it, there's been a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't change a thing. I think it's really made the person I am today and I can say I'm proud of that. The track and field team is a great group of girls and I'm going to be sad to graduate and leave them behind, but they're in a good spot."
Previous Spotlight: Erin Busbee