Name: Amanda Jane Huddleston
Year in School: Junior
Sport: Track, Jumping
Major: Health and Exercise Science, Concentration in Health Promotions
Random Fact: Tells people she got attacked by a liger in reference to scars incurred from a run-in with her own spikes and a jumping mat.
For some, acclaim is a hop, step and a jump away. Take, for instance, junior jumper Amanda Huddleston, who shattered the CSU record triple jump at the University of Northern Colorado's Tom Benich Classic, extending it to 41-6. This breaks her previous record mark of 40-9.75, set last year.
The triple jump is a series of choreographed jumps. It starts with a running approach phase, which leads to the initial hop phase, intermediate step phase and final jump phase. These isolated movements are spliced together to create one synergistic, collective movement, much as moments of a person's reality blend to create a lifetime.
Huddleston spent her approach phase in Fort Collins, where she attended Rocky Mountain High School. This hometown kid, self-described as "silly, random and a weirdo," spent her free time mountain biking up in the Foothills and hanging out at Horsetooth Reservoir.
Entering CSU in her hop phase, Huddleston started bouncing her way to the top in both triple and long jump competitions. She made the 2002 indoor track team and placed third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. She incurred an injury during her 2003 season, but rebounded in 2004 to place 10th in the indoor and 11th in the outdoor long jump competitions. These achievements have reaped two Mountain West Conference All-Conference awards so far.
"She surprises me all the time," said jumping coach Tim Cawley. "She has talent, a good work ethic, she's a good teammate and she's a good competitor."
These qualities have carried her to a very successful step phase, where she is awaiting competition at the NCAA regional championships. She will almost certainly be wearing her good-luck underwear for this challenge – a superstition that she has.
"I wear the same underwear to every meet," Huddleston said of this peculiarity. "But at least I wash them."
Huddleston also exhibits a few amusing idiosyncrasies off the track. For instance, she possesses an anatomical anomaly as one of her hidden talents.
"I can practically pick my nose with my tongue," Huddleston said. "It's a good thing I am getting married; some might think that is strange."
Senior sprinter and fellow teammate Katrice Thomas has also noticed a few of Huddleston's interesting eccentricities.
"She is always happy, outgoing and bubbly, and always in a good mood," Thomas said of her teammate. "She also bobbles her head when she runs."
When she is off the track, Huddleston likes listening to music Dave Matthews, but said that "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day is her favorite song.
She claims to be pretty low maintenance when it comes to style.
"You could even say that I am more of a sweats kind of girl," Huddleston said.
A small Celtic knot adorns her Achilles tendon in remembrance of a high school friend who passed away, emphasizing the truth in Cawley's description of this competitor as being "thoughtful, nice and modest."
In contrast to this propensity toward not-too-prissy fashion, Huddleston admits that she enjoys Nicholas Spark novels when she reads for fun and said that "The Notebook" is her favorite movie, even though it is a chick flick.
When it comes to culinary taste, Huddleston likes Mexican food and exhibits a sweet tooth for cookies, gummy bears and ice cream – cravings that she quelled as a Coldstone Creamery creation specialist.
Contemplating the jump phase of life, Huddleston looks forward to traveling to Europe sometime and especially wants to go to Spain.
Academically, she has enjoyed taking her exercise science classes and has especially appreciated her practicum, in which she gets to work at St. Joseph's Catholic Church Elementary School. Although she doesn't have any definite plans yet regarding a career, she would like to combine two of her main interests – health and kids – in some capacity.
However, as Huddleston looks before she leaps into grown-up life, she still has a few jumps to make at CSU.
"There is a good chance that she will qualify for Nationals this year," Cawley said. "And she has the potential to be an All-American next year."
With the dedication and competitive nature radiated by Huddleston, these accomplishments are literally just a hop, step and a jump away.