This week's Athlete of the Week is Shanna Esters, a junior on the Auburn High track and field team.
Auburn Villager: In what events do you compete?
Shanna Esters: I do long jump, high jump, triple jump and I throw javelin.
AV: What got you into track and field?
SE: I started in second grade in Indiana. And then when we moved to Alabama, I was like, 'Oh, I'll just pick up track again.' So I did hurdles for a while and then I was running the 400 and doing the heptathlon. Then they were like, 'You should just try jumping,' so I tried jumping. And then last year, I ended up third in the state for long jump and fourth for triple jump.
AV: What drew you to track and field?
SE: I just like how practice is fun, having people who are doing similar events as me, and it's not as tiring as running, so it's actually pretty fun to practice and just compete in. And it's a very competitive event to do.
AV: What's your favorite event?
SE: I like triple jump the best. It just reminds me of gymnastics because you're jumping multiple times before you get into the sand. And at meets the competition is just so tough, so it makes you want try harder and PR (personal record) and do better than your last jump and better than the person who was beating you.
AV: What's your personal record in triple jump?
SE: I jump a 38'-6".
AV: Did you have any role models you emulated in the sport?
SE: Well, my dad works with this guy named Myron and he runs for Purdue, and I want to go to Purdue, so I trained with him. He was just telling how he almost went to the Olympics. That's so cool because I want to go to the Olympics, too. And he was just like successful in jumping. I was like, 'I can try to do that.' And the girls at Smiths Station that graduated last year, they're my role models because they were just jumping real well. They had really good form, so that motivated me to want to start training harder and getting my form down so I can jump farther.
AV: What is involved in training?
SE: We do certain drills. We do resistance drills. We do speed drills so we can have speed to go into the sand. We do bounds in the grass, and we do squats and stuff and just jumping drills.
AV: You had a great showing at Sectionals. How did that go?
SE: Well, I finished first in high jump, long jump and triple jump, and then fifth in javelin, so I scored the most points for my team and I got the MVP of Sectionals.
AV: How does that feel?
SE: It feels really good that I've accomplished something that I've always wanted to get because I've always wanted to be a MVP of something and just be like, 'Oh, that girl just won MVP for Sectionals. I wonder how good she is.' That's a good note to end on before going to state this week.
AV: Do you have the same goal for the state competition this week?
SE: Yes. I want to get first or just on the podium for all four of the events I'm doing at state, and so we can get a ring because I really want a ring this year.
AV: Do you play any other sports?
SE: I do volleyball, and I used to do gymnastics.
AV: You mentioned that you wanted to go to Purdue. Why is that?
SE: Well, we used to live there, and their sports and their academics are so good, especially their program for sports nutrition, and physical therapy is really good. And so I've just been following their sports stats for certain players and teammates. I feel like where I am right now, I could probably be there by the end of my senior year to get a scholarship there, hopefully.
AV: So you want to study sports nutrition and physical therapy
SE: Yeah. I want to be a physical therapist or a strength and conditioning coach for a D-1 school or just any type of coach because I love working with people and helping others get better at what they want to accomplish.
Interview by Brian Woodham