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Friday, July 19, 2024

Inside the Game with Michaela Mundt


Mundt strives to shatter records at Regionals

This week, The California Aggie sat down with UC Davis track and field’s hammer-throwing star Michaela Mundt. A third-year genetics and history double major, Mundt has already made her mark in the record books with the second-longest hammer throw in UC Davis history. She was named the Big West Athlete of the Week after finishing fifth at the Sacramento State Open, and is currently ranked fifth in the Big West for her event and is heading to Kansas to compete in Regionals this week.


How did you first get into hammer-throwing?

I threw shotput and discus in high school and then I had a walk-on spot here at UC Davis. Before my current coach, the coach was like, “Oh you’re pretty tall. Let’s see if you’re good at hammer,” and I actually kind of picked it up really fast. I don’t know, it just felt really easy for me and the movements made sense so I got into it freshman year and that’s actually all I throw now. I don’t throw shotput or discus anymore; I just focus on hammer.


So is it safe to say you like hammer the best now?

Yes. It’s my favorite throw now, but I mean, I’m pretty biased.


What does your daily schedule look like?

Okay so I generally wake up by like 7 a.m. I have practice either at 9 or 10 a.m., depending on the day. That’s hammer practice, which is like an hour to an hour and a half. I go to class for a couple of hours, I generally go to work for a couple of hours, and then we have an afternoon workout whether that’s like, weightlifting or a circuit — med ball, hurdle, something along those lines. Then I go home, eat dinner, then go to sleep.


How do you balance school and work along with practice and travel time?

I’m really good at organizing my day. I make it a point to get like nine to 10 hours of sleep every night. Last night I only got seven and a half and feeling kind of tired right now.


Especially as a double major, I can imagine how packed your schedule is and how much time management goes into your day.

Yeah, it’s mostly about making time for everything.


How do you prepare mentally before you step into the ring?

Hammer is a really relaxed throw so if you tense up or freak out, then you’re not gonna throw very far. You’re not going to be able to do the movement. So it’s really important to stay relaxed, stay calm. So personally, before I got into the ring, I take a couple of really deep breaths, I smile to myself like, “You got this,” and then I start the throw. At this point, it’s just become second nature to me. Even before I do practice throws, I take deep breaths and I don’t even think about it anymore, it kind of just happens.


What’s your career-best throw?

189-11. That’s 57.88 meters. I’m number two all-time at UC Davis. I want to be number one. That’s the goal.


Track and field is a team sport, but each of you do your events individually. How does team support play into your individual performance?

We’re definitely an individual sport in the sense that we do our own events, but we still support each other. Like, we hang out with the sprinters and the jumpers and the distance people and we’re all very close and tight-knit. And as a team, the women’s team won conference. I personally did not win conference. I didn’t win the hammer throw, but as a team I contributed points to that. So even if you don’t necessarily win your heat or your race, you still feel like you’ve accomplished something for the team. And at the end of the day, I’d rather see the team succeed as a whole.


If you could do one event on the track, which one would you do?

The steeple is really fun to watch, but I wouldn’t want to do it. Or one of the relays, maybe. No, probably the steeple.


What’s next for you right now?

We’re leaving for Regionals in Kansas tomorrow morning and then I throw on Thursday. I’m just going to give it everything I have and see what happens for it. I’m not ranked extremely high, but on the day, a lot of things can happen. A lot of factors can change. You know, I’m hoping to sneak in there, and who knows? Maybe go to Nationals.


You’ve got one year left. What are your personal goals as an athlete?

My goals for next year. I want to hit 65 meters for track. I want to go to Nationals for sure. If I hit 65 meters, then I beat the school record so just add that in there. I’m going to graduate next year with both degrees. Yeah, I just want to finish strong and go out on a high note.


Written by: Nicolette Sarmiento – sports@theaggie.org


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