Eagan runner Van Wyk adds strength to positive personna

  • Article by: MEGAN RYAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2014 - 5:28 PM

Always positive, Eagan senior Anna Van Wyk used the summer to get stronger to lead her team this season.


Eagan senior Anna Van Wyk finished fourth in the Class 2A cross-country state meet last year and aims to improve this season.

Photo: MONICA HERNDON • monica.herndon@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


One look at Eagan senior cross-country captain Anna Van Wyk, with her light blonde hair and big smile reaching up to crinkle her eyes, it’s not hard to come up with one word to describe her: sunny.

That sunshiny demeanor is something she shares with her high school teammates, though they don’t look on the bright side quite the same way.

“It was last year, I believe it was at our Griak meet, and everyone was real nervous about running,” fellow senior captain Kelli Praska said. “And she was like, ‘You know what guys? At least we have legs because some people don’t have legs.’ ”

“We were all like, ‘Where did that come up from?’ Because it was just such a random thought.”

Coach Lisa Langenhahn said Van Wyk has been a huge part of her team for several years, including helping the Wildcats to a second-place finish at the Class 2A state meet in 2012. Van Wyk finished in fourth place last year.

“Anna always has some random comments,” Langenhahn said. “She’s very lighthearted. … That’s kind of Anna, and that’s what we love about her.”

Van Wyk said her positive outlook in the mentally tough sport of distance running stemmed from a young age. When running for the Eagan Athletic Association several years ago, she had a coach tell her, “If you’re feeling bad in a race, just look outside and say, ‘It’s a beautiful day.’ ”

But Van Wyk doesn’t rely solely on positivity to achieve fast times. This summer, in addition to attending running camp with her team and running for both distance and time, she concentrated on strength training to develop better muscle and stability.

As far as goals for this season, Van Wyk said she mostly wants to set a good example for the team’s younger members, as two will need to fill in the rest of the varsity lineup.

The senior hopes to set personal records but was reluctant to make further predictions about her performance.

“It would be really great if I could maybe get top three in state,” she said. “I’m definitely trying to work as hard as I can.”

The Wildcats’ theme for the 2014 season is “better our best,” both as a person and athlete. Langenhahn said that’s all Van Wyk should work for but couldn’t deny her star had extra pressure.

“We have goals, and of course, those expectations are there then, too,” Langenhahn said. “We talk about them, but we don’t necessarily talk them into the ground either.”

In addition to her last cross-country season and the finality of senior year, she has to figure out where she is going to college in a year’s time.

Van Wyk has sent applications to her dad’s alma mater of Liberty as well as Missouri. She said she’s still deciding on a major, perhaps hospitality or fitness and nutrition, but knows for sure she wants to run collegiately.

“I got a couple e-mails from coaches saying interest,” she said. “I know I don’t want to go to school in Minnesota, so I kind of politely declined them. … I want to go farther away because it’s one of my one chances to kind of travel.”

But even with the added stress, Praska said she knows Van Wyk still will be the team motivator.

“She’s actually kind of our positive spirit on the team, for sure,” Praska said. “She always has positive thoughts, and if we’re ever like, ‘Oh, I’m really nervous about the race,’ or ‘I don’t want to run,’ she’s just like, ‘You know what? We’re just going to go out there and do our best, and that’s all we can do.’ ”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM


question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters