April 4, 2014
Junior Brook Handler shares her thoughts on starting the outdoor season strong and being named Big Ten Athlete of the Week and discusses the upcoming tri-meet at UVA, as well as her intererst in chemical engineering.
On being named Big Ten Athlete of the Week after running 4:18.26 at Raleigh Relays ... "Big Ten Athlete of the Week was a huge honor. I had never gotten one before and they're really tough to get in track because everyone is competing so hard and doing so well. I definitely wasn't expecting to run that fast going into the meet because I had only done one workout so far. I think that because there was so little pressure on us at that meet is what helped me do so well. I can sometimes get so nervous it's debilitating. Just being with my teammates was great -- there were 14 of us in the 1,500m. We were warming up together and it was pouring rain so we had no expectations, so what came out of that meet was all positive."
On a good early start helping the team's confidence ... "It definitely gives us a lot of confidence. I think people have really big goals this season -- bigger goals than they've had in a long time -- to do well at Big Tens and make it to nationals. I think we're all really excited to accomplish them so we wanted to start off outdoor with a bang. We want to accomplish big things as a team outdoors because we've been so close."
On having the full team together at Virginia for a scored meet ... "I think the scored meets are a good opportunity to practice racing because it's not a situation where you're trying to run for time like you are at some other meet where you're trying to get a mark. At scored meets, you're just trying to run for place, which is what you do at Big Tens. Because the meet is so short, we all get to watch each other compete. It's a really high-energy atmosphere and everyone is there rooting for each other. We're way more in it together than we are at the longer invitationals where you're trying to come in, get a fast mark and get out. This is more of a team-oriented meet that will have more of the feeling we'll have at Big Tens."
On the team participating in Victor's Day and other community service initiatives ... "It's tough with our travel schedule, being gone every weekend or every-other-weekend, but we try to get involved as much as possible. We always have a great Mock Rock performance and we try and raise a lot of money for that event. Victor's Day is another opportunity for us to get involved and help out in the community outside of track. We've been given so much here at Michigan and we really want to give back to the athletic department and the Ann Arbor community."
On her progress as a chemical engineering major ... "I did an internship last summer with DTE Energy. I'm not totally sure what I'm doing yet this summer. Classes are definitely extremely difficult and it's tough to balance it with track, but everyone has tough classes and is trying to get good grades. I just try and do the best I can to represent our team as well as I can. My internship with DTE was more of a manufacturing chemical engineering position because I was at the power plant. I can see myself in more of a product development engineering role than a manufacturing role, but it was good that I had that internship to see the manufacturing side. Chemical engineering is such a broad major that you really can do anything. They need chemical engineers in the food industry and the energy industry and in almost every industry where manufacturing takes place. I have a ton of options. Everyone always asks if I majored in chemical engineering for the job security or because I love it -- it really is because I love it -- I didn't even know about the job security when I started. I love chemistry and I love science and math -- I think it's really interesting."
Previous Spotlight: Aaron Howell