Feb. 4, 2009
IOWA CITY, IA – Coming out of high school as an AP Scholar and a member of the National Honors Society, it might be tempting to stereotype University of Iowa track freshman McKenzie Melander as a wimp or a nerd. You’d be sorely mistaken however, because if there’s one thing Melander is, it’s tough. Not only was she a standout distance runner, but she also played center for her youth-league and high school ice hockey team, fighting her way to becoming a two-year letterwinner.
It’s these qualities that have helped the Apple Valley, MN, native to cope with the jump from high school to college.
“The athletic intensity level has definitely increased,” says Melander. “The practices are longer and the schedule for school and athletics is sometimes difficult to balance. There’s also more variety to the competition.”
For all the things that make college life difficult, there are just as many things that make attending the University of Iowa gratifying to Melander.
“I chose Iowa because it was close to home. But it’s not too close. I liked Coach Anderson a lot and that helped me decide on Iowa. Now I’m meeting a whole bunch of new people and it’s really a lot of fun.”
Melander is one member of a large youthful group of talented distance runners. She was one of the eight Hawkeye athletes selected to run in the Big Ten Championships during the 2008 Cross-Country season. Three other athletes, besides McKenzie, were also freshmen. She knows the competition is going to be tough, but she just looks to put her nose to the grindstone and do what she’s done for so long, and that’s being tough.
Name: McKenzie Melander
Birthday: October 12th, 1989
Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
Best Competition Moment: Placing 2nd in the Mile and Two-Mile during junior year at State
Biggest Pet Peeve: Mess / Clutter
Favorite Concert: The Fray
Favorite TV Show: The Office
I Spend Too Much Money On…: Shoes
Most Embarrassing CD I Own: Spice Girls