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Panther Profile: Nowak is a multi-talented track and field athlete

Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011

Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 14:03

Olimpia Nowak


Olimpia Nowak

College can be a time in a person's life when they move away from home and have many new experiences. This is exactly the case with University of Northern Iowa track and field athlete Olimpia Nowak.  The multi-event standout is from Rawicz, Poland.

"I have been here three years now and it wasn't easy at the beginning to adapt. But with time I could even get used to Iowa's winters," said Nowak.

Nowak really is a true definition of an athlete.  She has a wide range of abilities that the women's track and field team can utilize.

"I do hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin, 200 meters, 800 meters and 400 meters. My favorites are hurdles, high jump and long jump," said Nowak.

It is understandable why her favorite would be hurdles.  She broke the school record for the 60-meter hurdles twice at the UNI-Dome Open on Feb. 18. In the preliminary round, she ran a time of 8.52 seconds. The previous record was held by Jill Sinnwell with a time of 8.61 seconds, set in 2004.  However, Nowak ran a time of 8.47 seconds in the finals to take first place in the event, breaking her own record. She was later named Missouri Valley Athlete of the Week after her record-breaking performance.

"Hurdles are one of my favorite and one of my best events. I think what I like the most in hurdles, especially at the competition, is that it gives me a lot of adrenaline compared to other events. Hurdles is (an) exciting event. It's fun to watch and run as well," said Nowak.

Nowak is a great individual performer; however, she hopes the Panthers do well as a team.

"The team goal is to be one of the top three in the conference in both women and men's track," said Nowak.

She also has some individual goals for herself.

"I would like to finish in the top five in the nationals, score 4100 in pentathlon and 5700 in heptathlon this year," said Nowak.

For those of you who don't know, a pentathlon consists of five events that include javelin and long jump, to name a couple. The scores are added up to make a total number of points. A heptathlon is similar, but it has seven events and includes high jump and shot put.

Nowak's favorite place to compete so far in the United States is Eugene, Ore., because the atmosphere is so great.  She also loves to compete in Europe, especially the heptathlon, because of the great competitors and fans.

When preparing for races, Nowak likes to listen to techno because it's very energetic music that gets her pumped up and gives her added energy.

Nowak is a psychology major and would someday like to be a counselor at a school or a sports psychologist for a team.

The Panthers' first outdoor meet of the year will be the Wichita State Triangular on April 2.

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