MINNEAPOLIS – Even after recording the best outdoor shot put mark on the Gopher women's track & field team last season, Kailee Kamps still hopes to take a big step forward in her sophomore season. Kamps competed in the shot put, weight throw, discus and hammer throw during the 2014 indoor and outdoor seasons as a redshirt freshmen. She placed at the 2014 Big Ten Championships in shot put (indoor; 11th) and discus (outdoor; 17th).
A Belmont, Wis. native, Kamps hails from an athletic family, as both of her parents and three of her siblings also competed in athletics at the collegiate level. A kinesiology major, Kamps earned Academic All-Big Ten honors this past season.
What is your favorite thing about Gopher track & field?
My favorite thing about this team is how close we are. We have our very own Gopher family here, and it makes practices, meets and traveling that much better.
What is your best memory with the team so far?
My best memory with the team so far would have to be the Big Ten meet last year at Purdue. Getting to participate and cheer on my teammates was great. We had some incredible performances, and I can’t wait to do it all again this year.
What’s your proudest accomplishment in your track career so far?
My proudest accomplishment to this point in my career was picking back up the shot put after taking a year off, and being able to train at a level where I could compete and gain confidence in that event again.
What are your major and career goals?
I plan on graduating with a degree in kinesiology and then attend graduate school to become a physician’s assistant.
How did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I chose the University of Minnesota because I felt like it was my home away from home. When I met some of the girls on the team, right away I knew that I could fit in and really get to know these guys. I definitely made the right decision, and I can see us staying in touch after we all graduate.
How did you get into track & field?
Both of my older sisters did track in junior high and high school, so it was something I was going to do because I wanted to be just like them. Once I got into track, I started to really enjoy it. My dad, who also threw the shot and discus, was my high school coach, so it made going to practice fun and it was easy to understand everything he wanted me to do.
Were you involved in any other sports growing up?
I also played basketball, volleyball and softball.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions?
Before every meet, I always have to eat zebra cakes. It doesn’t matter what time I throw or even how many I eat. I also have to make sure I have my stuffed unicorn from Despicable Me. My mom gave it to me, and it is my good luck charm. She told me that wherever Eunice (the unicorn’s name) traveled with me, it was like she was right there cheering me on during the meets she couldn’t get to.
What do you think makes being a Gopher so special?
It is so special because so many kids grow up dreaming about the opportunities we are getting right now. I had many dreams growing up about playing sports in college and didn’t think they would be possible. It's special because it shows you how much your hard work and dedication paid off. There are really no words to describe how amazing it is to get to study, train, compete and goof around with my teammates. I am very blessed and have a lot to be thankful for.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2015 season?
I am looking forward to using my experiences from my first season to gain knowledge and confidence going into my sophomore season. Things can only go up from here. If we continue to push each other every day, the sky is the limit for this team. I can’t wait to be a part of something truly special this year.
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