Kristin Freeman, a freshman on the Hillsdale College track and field team, broke the 19-year-old school high-jump record by jumping 5 feet, 7 ¾ inches (1.72 meters). She was also named GLIAC co-Field Athlete of the Week on Jan. 21, her first conference award.
What was your initial reaction when you learned that you’d beaten Hillsdale’s long-standing record for the high jump event?
I saw what the height was at, so I knew it was a school record and I was trying to do my best. And then once I beat it, I got this rush of adrenaline and I was so excited. I felt like I could keep jumping forever, and all my injuries went away. It was a great feeling of excitement. I was in the zone, and I was really proud of my accomplishments at that time. I was also proud of my teammate Maddie Estell: she was jumping with me, and I was just so happy we made it to that point.
How does it feel to be named co-Field Athlete of the Week?
It was very unexpected at the time. I didn’t expect anything to happen from the jump, but once I found out, I was so happy and proud that I could represent my school and felt blessed with the opportunities God had given me.
What inspired you to compete on the collegiate level?
For me, it was definitely more gradual. I got to high school and decided to join my sister on the team, where I met a coach that encouraged me to do more than I thought I could. My coach and my parents continually supported me throughout the entire process. Their support system influenced me to keep going — they helped me believe I could compete on the collegiate level. The coaches here also do the same thing. I didn’t have my best meet this past weekend, but my coach reminded me that we came to accomplish what we’d needed to do for that day. Like this week, it was jumping to jump, not jumping to score.
How did you choose Hillsdale College?
It was kind of unexpected. I got something in the mail with the statue of George Washington on it, and it had a quote that immediately appealed to me. My dad had heard about Hillsdale College on the radio and told me more about it, so I thought I might as well give it a chance. On my visit, the unique environment at the school and how successful the track program was definitely influenced my decision. I knew it would be uncomfortable in the sense that I didn’t know anyone coming in and it was so far away from home, but I felt comfortable enough when I visited that I knew I would be fine. I knew this is where God wanted me.
Do you have any projected majors or minors?
When I came in, I wanted to be a theatre major because I’ve been acting, singing, and dancing since I was eight years old. Last fall, I was an extra in the Shakespeare play, “Twelfth Night.” But all my friends are psychology majors, and the way they talk about it and they way it’s influenced them has inspired me. So I’m taking my first psychology class this semester, but I’m still open to taking some of the arts classes.
What are your interests outside of track?
Theatre and arts are my main interest. I also take vocal lessons here, so I’m into singing. And then I was a dancer: I especially love ballet, tap, any of the classical styles. Any of the visual arts too. I love to draw and craft.
What helps mentally prepare you for an event?
It’s changed a lot over the years. On the bus ride down and as I’m walking to the sports complex, I listen to music and get into a zone. Once I’m there I don’t listen to anything: I absorb all the sounds and get comfortable in the environment. Lately, before I jump I visualize what I will be doing, my goals, what I’m supposed to be doing for that meet. Then I do a couple warm-up jumps, and right before I jump Maddie and I will say a quick prayer. I pray for Him to give me sportsmanlike conduct and to be open to the support around me.
How has being a part of the track team impacted your freshman year?
At the beginning of the year, they were my first friends. They’re built-in friends, made of people that blend well with the rest of the team. We all have our hearts in the same place: to compete for Hillsdale track and field, but also we have our fun, like with Super Smash Brothers tournaments.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
At the beginning of the season, Coach Miller had us write down our goals for the season. Some of my performance goals were to get the indoor school record, top five in the GLIAC conference meet — that’s probably my next goal — and to consistently jump one meter, 60 centimeters at meets. I’d also like to become No. 1 in the nation, because right now I’m at No. 2 — that would be a dream goal of mine.
What are your goals for your next three years?
Definitely one of them would be to become All-American in high jump. The thought is surreal — to be one of the top division jumpers in the nation — but it would be an awesome goal to accomplish.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Hillsdale track team?
It keeps me on track with my time. My entire schedule is structured and solidified, which ends up giving me more time to do homework and study and do whatever else I’d like to do. Because of this, the thought of waking up and knowing I have track practice makes me realize what a blessing it is, an opportunity to serve God.