Wolverine Athlete Spotlight: Anna Pasternak
Anna Pasternak

Oct. 31, 2013

Junior/sophomore Anna Pasternak discusses her development within the program the led her to earning a spot on the defending Big Ten championship squad and previews this year's event.

On earning a spot on the Big Ten squad this year ... "Last year, Mike (McGuire) had me treat the EMU Fall Classic as my Big Ten meet because I knew I was just an alternate for Big Tens. Having that race and being in the front of the competition in that race was a stepping stone, for confidence especially. I knew after that year, being 10th on the team, I really wanted to run at Big Tens. I definitely got the vibe from Mike (McGuire) that he had the confidence that I could in future years. So I guess this summer was the most focused and dedicated I've ever been to consistently following a plan and having long-term goals in mind. That plan has worked out and now I'm really excited for Sunday. I remember ever since freshman year saying 'I want to be running here next year, I don't want to be watching from the sidelines anymore'."

On what it means to represent Michigan at Big Tens ... "In high school when I was thinking about coming here to Michigan, I didn't really know how far I was going to be able to get. And freshman year I remember thinking, 'wow, they're all so fast and they've progressed so well'. It's strange to think back two years ago and know that this was my goal and now it's right in front of me -- I'm so excited. I'm ready to enter that meet with those eight other girls with a positive attitude. I think we're all prepared to run guts out."

On the key to her individual development as a collegiate runner ... "I've really utilized all the resources offered to student-athletes here at the University of Michigan. And like I said before, this summer my focus was better than it's ever been. My confidence last season, especially after cross country season was not very high and now I feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been in -- knowing that, has helped my confidence and overall helped make me happier. Overall, I've never been in a better state of mind."

On previewing Purdue's course and seeing larger fields throughout the season ... "First off, I think knowing that we've raced there before and knowing that it's not completely new will help -- there is a little bit of familiarity with that. I've had some practice keeping my composure through races this year -- that's one thing that I think has really improved -- I've been able to let any negative thoughts or distractions slide out of my mind and keep focused. I think knowing I have teammates out there working as hard as they can, I know that's what I have to do too. After being at Pre-Nats where it was a crowded field, I had difficulty with that, but being able to make that step into a faster pace was good. The combination of that faster pace and being able to move around a little better at Big Tens will be optimal."

On keys to preparing for success at Big Tens ... "Big Tens has been our focus -- I'm know after this is done we'll focus on regionals and nationals, but this has always been our 'end goal'. Not being a spectator this year, you definitely prep different going into this. Last year, I was still working out with the girls and I was there, but I think the mental preparation is key. It's important to eliminate extra extraneous physical activity -- I've even tried not biking as fast to class (laughing). We're all hoping to improve from when we previewed the course and then also stay closely packed together, especially our scorers. We've had all our training, we're prepared and now it's time to execute."

• Previous Spotlight: Taylor Manett