This week on '20 Questions' we talked with sophomore Meghan Janssen from Minnetonka, Minn.
20Q: How did you get started in track & field?
MJ: My mom was a big runner, so when I was young I would run with her and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I was in elementary school I did track camps and run clubs and I couldn't get enough of it. So, in 6th grade I was officially part of the middle school track team and the love flourished from there.
20Q:In your own words, describe your event and what you love about it?
MJ: My event is the 800-meter run. It’s a very challenging race, but that’s why I love it. The challenge keeps it interesting. The first lap, for the most part, feels great every time. The second lap is everything that’s left. When I’m in my rhythm, it feels like I can’t be stopped and that’s the most amazing feeling.
20Q:What is your goal for the season?
MJ: My goal for this season is to drop a lot of time. I would really like to hit a 2:14, that would be amazing. Hopefully I’ll get a spot to outdoor conference.
20Q: What was the best advice ever given to you?
MJ: “When you step up to your race always have silent confidence” Being confident in what you are about to do, but not needing to make sure others around you know because you show them in the race.
20Q: Which athlete inspires you the most?
MJ: Allyson Felix. I have been following her career for a long time now and she always impresses me. She is an incredible sprinter. She is so gracious about all she has accomplished and so respectable. An athlete who is amazing on the track but also off, is very humbling to see and inspiring.
20Q:What would you like to be remembered for?
MJ: I would like to be remembered as an athlete who never stopped going for her goal and who pushed herself and her teammates to their very best everyday. Even the sucky days. I would also like to be remembered as an athlete who brought joy to her team.
20Q:What is your pre-competition ritual if you have one?
MJ: Oh yes I totally do! I have to wear the same socks every race. I put them on right before, so when I put my spikes on. Also, before the gun I have to shake each leg/foot twice.
20Q: What are your hobbies outside of athletics?
MJ: I really enjoy biking. My brother and dad are really into biking, so they got me hooked. I also love water sports. I’m not very good at them, but I still love them!
20Q: Name one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
MJ: I lost my last tooth the spring of my sophomore year of high school. It was one of my teeth closer to the front, so it was pretty funny.
20Q: The best part of being an athlete?
MJ: The team by far. I have been apart of a team since I was in preschool and it’s hard to imagine not having that. "It’s a special thing to be part of a team and have the support and friendships that naturally come with it."
20Q: Which teammate inspires you the most and why?
MJ: All my teammates truly inspire me because they all give so much to this sport and each other. But one in particular, is my training partner Megan Kienholz. Her work ethic and drive is always there. Even the days that are hard, she works her butt off and motivates others. She sets goals for herself and she achieves them. She is realistic about the life of an athlete and can balance it all with grace. She's strong and fast, and an awesome teammate. She has an amazing future a head of her and she is truly an inspiration.
20Q: What are three things on your bucket list?
MJ: I want to backpack through Europe, qualify for the Boston Marathon and then run the Boston Marathon, and I’ve always wanted to explore a desert on a camel.
20Q: If you could do any event in track & field, what would it be & why?
MJ: I think it would be pretty cool to high jump. I was definitely not gifted with that talent, but I think it is a really graceful and beautiful event. It’s pretty sweet how they can get their body in the air that high off their two feet.
20Q: Who has made the biggest impact in your life?
MJ: My parents have made a huge impact on me. They are my biggest supporters and support me in everything I do. They always encourage me to do what I enjoy to do and because of that I am where I am today. They have taught me to work hard in everything I do and to push myself. Their perspectives on life are so wonderful, so I get see life like that too. They have helped shape me into who I am and I’m so grateful for that.
20Q: What is your goal after you graduate?
MJ: I would love to take some time and travel and then get started working as an Occupational Therapist. I’m not sure where I would like to live, but of course somewhere cool!
20Q: How would your teammates describe you?
MJ: My teammates would probably describe me as a little crazy, but hopefully the good kind! That I have a goofy side, but also a very serious and competitive side. That I work hard and put forth my best effort in everything I do. And that I truly care about them all.
20Q: What is your favorite movie of all time? Why?
MJ: She’s the man. Hands down. Such a classic.
20Q: Which road-trip are you most looking forward to this season and why?
MJ: I don’t know exactly what trips I will be going on, but I would have to say any of them. Each trip is another opportunity to compete well and hit another PR. They all offer great time with the team and time to support each other in competition.
20Q: What makes UND special to you?
MJ: I have a team here. I cannot imagine any of my college experience without them. When I think of UND I think about my team and of course school too, but they are why this is an extra special place to me.
20Q: What is the best thing about living where you do?
MJ: The wind by far. Just kidding. I think Grand Forks is a hidden gem, coming from the city, it was an adjustment, but I feel very comfortable here now.