VYPE DFW Private School Girls XC Runner of the Year: Ursuline runner Amanda Hogan
After a successful high school cross country career, Ursuline senior runner Amanda Hogan was able to cap off her 2021 season by winning the 2021 VYPE DFW Private School Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Fan Poll presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Hogan has been Ursuline Cross Country's MVP for three straight seasons and is the current school record holder in the 5k with a 17:43 time; she also has an impressive 10:55 time in the two-mile. VYPEDFW was able to catch up with Hogan after she won the fan poll:
A Look Back on Success
Although some memories in sports can be heartbreaking, as a senior looking back on your high school career it isn't hard to pick a few that stand out as some of the top memories that you will cherish for a long time to come. For Hogan, this has proven to be the case as she reflects on her time with Ursuline Cross Country. "There are 70 girls on my cross country team and I cherish being a part of such a big group. My favorite memories are going to Rudy's barbecue and Panera with the team because we are always up to something fun- making memes, laughing uncontrollably, or bonding over how hard that hill was on mile two," Hogan said.
An athlete who can make great memories with their team is a special athlete. An athlete who can make memories while being successful with their team is a next-level athlete. Hogan has proven to be one of those next-level athletes who can maintain a great bond with her team in order to be successful throughout the season; being able to maintain those relationships just might be what makes her team so successful. "Our team knew how to race well this season because we did most workouts together in our little 'gaggle' so we could go into toe the starting line with confidence in ourselves and in our teammates' ability to push ourselves to new limits," Hogan told VYPE. "Pep talks in our hotel room the night before big races contributed to our strong bond and put emphasis on running for the Bears- not the individual."
As far as personal success in running, many people might want to know the secret of Hogan's success. "I stopped thinking about the 'what-if' scenarios before a race," Hogan said acknowledging that those "what-if" moments consumed her mentality last year. "I have become a more confident and risk-taking racer by just running because I love it! Under the guidance of more coaches with the experience of racing competitively (collegiately and at the professional level), I was able to perform well in each aspect of my training- long runs, tempo runs, and shorter intervals- so I had no doubt that I was prepared for races."
A successful career calls for great focus in and out of season. Sometimes, though, that calls for focusing on something that isn't necessarily your sport. For Hogan, the secret to the offseason is not thinking about the sport. "Here's the thing," Hogan started. "I try not to stay focused during my offseason and I think it is very beneficial for my mental health while I give my body a break from being laser focused on each race and how I can properly prepare for it. While I do focus on getting sleep, fueling my body, and training lightly during the off-season, I focus on other activities that make me smile: spending more time with my friends and being more involved in school clubs."
Coming into the season, Hogan's mindset was to just do what she loves and run. "I tried not to overthink or over visualize race strategies because I do best and dig the deepest when I just run! I don't even look at who is also entered in the race or analyze times or splits in fear of stressing myself out. I enter every race and practice with confidence and the desire to improve and feel the burning sensation in my legs or my lungs trying to hold onto that last breath, which gave me the sense of accomplishment!"
This mindset allows her to set goals that are obtainable throughout the season: "Going into this season, I wanted to set a new personal record in the 5k and two-mile and I did accomplish these goals," said Hogan. Hogan was able to shave 37 seconds off of her PR in the 5k as well as 21 seconds in the two-mile. "Hitting my goal times gave me an accomplished feeling, but what is more fulfilling is being a leader to the 70 other runners on my team by leading in warmups and drills and giving high fives after a workout or race! My goal was to be a role model to the underclassmen and I have become a lot closer to Tess Corales, a sophomore on the team and my go-to running buddy, so I am able to pass along what I have picked up on from transferring practice performance to race-day as well as how the college recruiting process really works."
With her goals met, Hogan feels that her biggest accomplishment this season was breaking a school record that was set over two decades ago. "Breaking the Ursuline School 5k record that was set in 1997 was an accomplishment I was not expecting, but made me the proudest," Hogan told VYPE.
Headed into the off-season, Hogan plans to do what she always does in order to refresh. "My [off-season] goals are to stay motivated, but also relax my mind and body in preparation for track season!"
A Bright Future
As an accomplished athlete, Hogan is ready to hit the trails in the next-level of her running career. Hogan is committed to run for the Aggies at Texas A&M University in both cross country and track. "I chose to go to Texas A&M because I fell in love with the team culture as well as the commitment the school, coaches, and athletes have to the sport and their success," Hogan said. She also chose Aggieland because of "the contagious pride the student-body has for their school... and of course: Aggie football!"
Hogan plans on majoring in Business Administration at the Mays Business School on the College Station campus.
VYPE was able to catch up with coach Becky Wade Firth to discuss Hogan's accomplishments with Ursuline where she had only great things to say about Hogan as an athlete and a person. "There's so many things about Amanda that make her a great athlete and teammate, and a delight to coach: her passion, positivity, consistency, drive, and buy-in just to name a few. She's the type of runner that needs holding back more than pushing and she's a strong leader on and off the course. Whether winning in record-setting time or or cheering on all of her teammates as they cross the line after her, she inspires those around her to raise the bar, too. I couldn't be more proud of all she's done this season and as much as I'm going to miss her next year, I can't wait to see what she does at A&M!"
Who do you look up to as an athlete?
"Within a week of meeting my new coach, Becky Wade, she instantly became my role model. As an alumna from my high school and a former collegiate and professional athlete herself, I have gained so much wisdom from her! I also look up to my mom who did the World Championship Ironman in Hawaii in 2011. She is the person that inspired me to do triathlons when I was little, which planted my passion for running!"