Jan. 28, 2009
IOWA CITY, IA – When talking to University of Iowa track sophomore Bethany Praska, it is apparent she has completely embraced the full-time commitment that comes with being a student-athlete.
“If there’s one thing I learned from last year,” Praska says after some deliberation, “Everything in your life plays a role in how you perform on the track. Your sleep, your stress, your nutrition, it all makes a difference. Balancing time commitments is definitely the most difficult part of being a student-athlete. In college, being an athlete is definitely a lifestyle. In high school it was just playing a sport.”
The Longmont, CO, native really does practice what she preaches. Many people, when asked what they spend too much money on, might respond with junk food, CD’s, or any other of the usual suspects. Praska says running clothes. For others, pet peeves might include nail-biting, finger-tapping, or other general annoyances. Praska says it’s when people forget to rerack the free weights in the weight room. It’s official, Praska has track on the brain, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Praska is a part of the team’s developing core of young athletes quickly making a name for themselves. At the end of the 2008 outdoor season at the Big Ten Championships, she ran the lead leg on the 16,000-meter relay team (3:44.21) that placed sixth. Her 2009 indoor season is off to a great start as well. Her 400-meter performance at last weekend’s Razorback Invite (56.58) was a new collegiate-best as well as ranking 10th overall in school history. Praska says her personal goal for the season is to score at the Big Ten Championships, and it looks like she’s could do it.
So, for now, Praska has officially made her mark on the University of Iowa. If she has her way, though, she would like to be a fixture here after her undergrad days are over.
“After college,” Praska says, “getting into a Physical Training (PT) program is a priority. If I could get into Iowa’s, that would be ideal. It’s one of the things that attracted me to this University. Not only was the team atmosphere awesome, but Iowa’s PT program is top-notch. It was really a complete fit.”
So for all the running that Praska will be doing in the next few years, it seems like Iowa City is somewhere she wouldn’t mind resting her feet for a while.
Name: Bethany Praska
Birthday: June 10, 1989
Year in School: Sophomore
Major(s)/Minor(s): Psychology Maj. with emphasis in Physical Therapy
Hometown: Longmont, CO
Best / Worst Competition Moment: Tearing her hip flexor (worst) at state in the 400 meters, yet still setting a personal best in the 400-meters (best)
How I Spend Free Time on the Road: Napping, Hanging out with the team, Practicing
Last Movie You Saw and Was It Any Good: Slumdog Millionaire, very good
Favorite TV Show: Lost
Food I Couldn’t Live Without: Trail Mix
Best Concert I Ever Went To: Linkin Park, summer 2008
Most Embarrassing Movie I Own: Pocahontas