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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Senior Spotlight: Annika Hildebrandt (Women's Cross Country / Track & Field)

Senior Spotlight: Annika Hildebrandt (Women's Cross Country / Track & Field)

Name: Annika Hildebrandt
Sport: Women's Cross Country / Track & Field
Hometown: West Simsbury, Connecticut
Majors: Computer Science and Political Science

Why did you choose UChicago?
I fell in love with the school and the city when I toured during high school!

Favorite moment of your UChicago athletic career?
My favorite moment of my UChicago athletic career was when we were on the podium last year at the national meet. I felt so proud of my teammates and to be a Maroon. It was a great weekend with friends and something special to be a part of.

Favorite team tradition/activity?
There are too many traditions to choose from, but I really like team huddles at track meets. Everyone gets hyped when Coach Hall breaks down the huddle.

What made you fall in love with your sport originally?
Some of my best friends in high school (and now!) were on the cross country team. My teammates definitely made me fall in love with the sport.

What lessons have you learned through competing in your sport that have stuck with you?
The biggest lesson I have learned is to not take myself too seriously. In the end, I always run best when I am having fun.

What advice would you give to your first-year teammates?
Take every advantage to run and spend time with teammates because it goes by too fast!

Favorite UChicago class that you learned the most from and why?
My favorite class at UChicago was my core art class. I was surprised by how much I liked art history, which is very different than both of my majors.

Which UChicago faculty or staff member made the greatest impact on you and why?
Definitely Coach Hall. I feel like he helped me gain confidence in myself as an athlete, and he always also stressed the importance of team. Our cheer after workouts and meets is "team on 3, family on 6" and I really feel like I have found a family here.

Favorite thing to do in the city?
Swim in Lake Michigan.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I will be working at Accenture in their Technology Development Program in Boston!

Outside of your current sport, which sport or activity do you feel like you would excel at the most?
I did a lot of roller blading on the lakefront this summer, so perhaps roller hockey.

Favorite Chicago restaurant?
Shinju.

Strangest thing you've ever eaten?
My current roommate from Wisconsin introduced me to cheese curds my freshman year after a cross country meet, which I had never heard of until I came to UChicago. Highly recommend.