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Chattin’ With: Cross Country

This week, The Retriever interviewed women’s track and field extraordinaire and star engineering student Savannah Steinly.

So far, what has been your best experience with UMBC’s track and field or cross-country team?

My favorite experiences have occurred at spontaneous times. Some of the most fun and memorable experiences happen during mundane moments, such as while waiting in the locker room before practice, stretching prior to a run or [during] cross training. The team is so fun to be around! There is never a dull moment.

What is your personal favorite thing about running?

I find it funny that when I talk to people and tell them that I enjoy running. I typically hear responses like, “what? No way! I hate to run,” or something along those lines. I’m not sure if anyone enjoys the pain that is associated with pushing one’s physical boundaries because it is really uncomfortable sometimes. However, I do love the feeling of accomplishment when I’m able to run faster or longer than I was before. It makes me feel strong, and so the pain and commitment is absolutely worthwhile. I also love my team, and the experience is exponentially better when you can share it with others.

How do you balance your time between college athletics, academics and your other extracurricular obligations?

I’m still learning the answer to that. I think the main factor that influences my time management is prioritization. I must decide which commitments are most important to me on a daily basis and also in the long term, and plan my time accordingly. Of course, academics come before everything else. I also really value being a member of the track and field and cross-country teams, part of the Center for Women in Technology Scholars program and Honors College communities, and other groups and commitments on campus such as SWE, Tour Guiding and Dr. Blaney’s lab. I also like to make time to communicate with and spend time with family and friends, because these people are so important to me. I care about them deeply. They also help me stay grounded, and they make life more interesting!

In spite of your recent injury, how have you been preparing to compete once you recover?

In terms of preparation and moving forward, the main thing for me has been to remain positive, focused and motivated. It can be very mentally stressful as an athlete to be injured and unable to compete. Therefore, I’ve been focusing my energy on the factors that I can control at the moment, rather than those I cannot. For example, when I’m unable to run, I have more time to develop mental and physical strength in different avenues, such as through biking and physical therapy. I also focus attention on the positives aspects of my life and aspects that I’m grateful for, because when I take a step back and look at the big picture, I find that there is a lot.

Who is your favorite athlete of all time? 

My dad is my favorite athlete. His positive attitude, encouragement and competitive drive as both a former athlete and coach are inspiring to me. When the going gets tough, he refuses to give in. That relentlessness is something I strive to achieve.

If given the choice between competing in the Olympics or getting a top tier engineering job, which would you pick and why?

I’d choose the Olympics because it would signify a culmination of hard work and the overcoming of many obstacles to get there. I’m not as concerned with achieving a “top tier” job (however that is defined), as long as I am able to work in a job that I love, where I can contribute to environmental, social and technical causes I care about, in a setting that I feel comfortable in.