Geyen’s new style generates success

Megan Geyen won all three of her races at last weekend’s meet in California.

Megan Ryan

Given the past few Minnesota winters, an uptick in seasonal depression around the Twin Cities is probably merited.

In senior Megan Geyen’s case, though, distress in recent years hasn’t been about the cold, but rather her times on the track.

Geyen, a sprinter on the women’s track and field team, couldn’t train outside in the bitter winters, and her times in the 400-meter dash suffered because of it.

She was frustrated, but her outlook changed at the 2013 Big Ten outdoor championships.

Geyen clocked a personalrecord time in the 400-meter preliminaries and placed second in the event.

She said the surprise success was the most inspirational moment of her career.

“I still believe to this day I ran more with my heart than I did with my actual physical body because I just wanted it so bad,” she said.

That perspective has stuck with Geyen this season. She won all of her events at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational last weekend.

Her training partner, junior Jessica Waldvogel, teamed with Geyen in the relays and finished second to her in the open 400 meters. Waldvogel said the change in Geyen’s demeanor has been noticeable.

“This year, I think she’s a lot more calm,” Waldvogel said. “And I think that has helped her because she’s not so stressed out … all the time.”

Geyen said the realization that this is her last season on the track has also motivated her.

“I just want to have fun because it is my last outdoor season,” she said. “And when you’re having fun, I feel like the success will just follow.”

Gophers head coach Matt Bingle said his athletes always see an improvement in results when they let go and perform for the enjoyment of the sport, rather than letting the pressure get to them.

Geyen has learned to loosen up, but she’s still one of the more confident, responsible and positive role models on the team, Waldvogel said.

Bingle agreed, adding that Geyen is a more organizational leader who accomplishes many behind-the-scenes tasks that sometimes go unnoticed.

While most athletes will spend the moments before a race in a state of intense, quiet focus, Waldvogel said Geyen can usually be found doing the opposite — in other words, dancing around to hip-hop music.

It’s all part of Geyen’s master plan to make her last season not only successful, but fun.

“I’ve been in a relationship with track for the past five years, and knowing that it’s coming to the end is kind of sad — track has given me so much,” she said. “And I’ve just really enjoyed my time while I’ve been here.”