July 25, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – A redshirt junior in both cross country and track & field, Kate Bucknam looks forward to surprising the opposition this season. She battled through injuries at the end of the 2013 cross country season and missed the indoor track season but returned to record career-best times in the 1,500-meter run and 3,000-meter steeplechase during the 2014 outdoor track season.
Bucknam plans to study kinesiology and follow in her father's footsteps to pursue a career in coaching after her Gopher athletic career is over. In the meantime, she has two more seasons racing in Maroon & Gold.
What is your favorite thing about Gopher track & field and cross country?
I love the atmosphere of the team and the energy we bring to meets and practice. When we show up to a meet, people know we are there because we have the loudest cheers. Even with such a large team, we are a very tight-knit group, and we all support one another and push each other to get better every day.
What is your best memory with the team so far?
My best memories would have to be road-tripping to Big Tens to cheer on our top group for cross country. The camaraderie that Minnesota brings to meets is greater than any other Big Ten team, and it has helped lead us to some top-three finishes in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
What’s your proudest accomplishment in your track and cross country career so far?
Battling through my last outdoor season. I was injured from the end of cross country all the way through indoor. Although my times weren’t the best, the effort I put in to earn myself a personal record in my first race back was very rewarding. Sometimes your best accomplishments aren’t times or standards, but your effort and mindset to be the best you can be, even when this sport kicks you when you’re down.
What are your major and career goals?
I hope to become a Division I track & field coach.
How did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I knew I wanted to go to a big school that would challenge me both academically and athletically. The cross country and track program here at Minnesota seemed like a good fit because they are known to turn average high school runners into savvy Big Ten athletes that leave the program ready to face the real world.
How did you first get into running?
I grew up around the sport of track & field. My dad was the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa for 25 years, and when I was in high school we moved to the University of Arkansas where he now coaches the men’s track & field and cross country teams.
Were you involved in any other sports growing up?
I played soccer and basketball all through junior high and was on the golf team my senior year of high school.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions?
I always have two cups of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal every race day.
What do you think makes being a Gopher so special?
It's always special when you are a part of something bigger than yourself. I'm not just on a team that has a rich tradition of success both on and off the track, but I'm part of an entire athletic program that is one of the best in the conference, both academically and athletically.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2014-15 cross country and track seasons?
I’m looking forward to surprising everyone. We lost a lot of fifth-year seniors last year that held the reigns for a long time, but now it is our turn to step up into our roles and prove that we’re ready to compete.
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Warm-Up Lap: Q&A with Madeline Strandemo
Catch up with Gophers co-captain Madeline Strandemo after she ran the second-fastest mile in program history last weekend.