Posted on: April 24, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack cross country team have a few openings on their women’s squad this fall. They have taken a major step improving their team and gaining some experience.
Head coach Carmin Mazzotta and the ‘Pack are pleased to announce that Kristen Hansen of Edmonton, Alberta is joining the program in September. Hansen has experience at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association level as both a competitor and coach.
The 5’6” Hansen ran at Concordia University in Edmonton (2011-12) and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) for two seasons (2012-13, 2014-15). She also participated in the CCAA female apprenticeship coaching program (2015-16) and was an assistant coach with Concordia the past two seasons (2016-18).
Hansen will be coming to TRU to earn a law degree.
“I am equally nervous and excited to be returning as an athlete,” she says. “ It will be nice to focus on cross country again and I am excited to be coached by Carmin. The best thing you can do as a coach (or a human being, really) is surround yourself with great coaches and learn as much as you can from them. I am grateful for the opportunity to become a better coach and athlete while at TRU.”
Hansen’s top finishes included a 9th place finish at the ACAC (Alberta College Athletic Conference) provincials in 2012. She followed that up with a 30th finish at the CCAA nationals the same year.
“Our program will really benefit from someone with leadership experience and that is what Kristen brings,” says Mazzotta. “Kristen has a lot of knowledge in terms of strength and conditioning and will be able to share perspectives and training tips with some of our younger athletes. She will complement the program well and comes highly recommended from her previous coach, Matt Norminton.”
When asked why she likes to run Hansen explains, “Running for me is meditative and medicinal. It’s a time where I can go out and not have to worry or stress, and have some time to work something out in my head if I need to. Right now, it’s the only part of my day that is not spent with other people, so it’s a time that I can recharge.”
Hansen has competed in ultramarathons. Mazzotta believes that experience coupled with her strength and conditioning background should make it an easy transition to being a ‘full time athlete’ again.
He adds, “She is at a competitive level that will really complement our women’s squad. She will benefit from the faster interval sessions and will likely be pushing the pace on the longer tempo sessions. I am excited to have Kristen in the group this fall.”
Hansen becomes the second confirmed recruit for the WolfPack cross country team for the upcoming Canada West/USPORTS season following Calum Carrigan (5’10” Kamloops, BC-South Kamloops Secondary/Kamloops Track and Field Club).
More recruiting announcements are expected from the cross country program in the coming weeks.
FINISH LINES: Hansen on moving from an athlete to a coach: “To be honest, I didn’t think there was a lot to coaching aside from designing a workout program until I started coaching with Matt. A good coach has to be able to read their athletes. Being an athlete is about analyzing how you’re feeling as an athlete and how to better your performance, while being a coach is about figuring out what the athlete needs to perform at their best and knowing how to deliver whatever that is. I always thought being an athlete would be more stressful than being a coach, but sending your athletes out to compete and knowing it’s all up to them is enough to make your stomach jump into your throat.”
Hansen is looking forward to being involved in the numerous community activities that the WolfPack are involved in, “The teams that I was on previously weren’t involved in any community outreach projects, but I think it’s a great idea. In a culture that puts so much spotlight on athletes, it’s great to use the opportunity to be a healthy role mode, especially to youth. I am very excited to become a member of the TRU WolfPack.”