The Collegian caught up with junior shot putter Dani Winters before she jetted off with the rest of the K-State track and field team to compete in the Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Eugene, Oregon.
Q: What was the biggest adjustment moving from your home town of Plainville, Kansas to Manhattan?
Dani: I came from a class of 32 people, so the first time … I walked to campus and I went into my very first lecture class, there were more people in the lecture than there were in my entire high school. So that freaked me out a lot. So, (I was) sort of just adjusting to the sheer number of people. People told me when I came here that Manhattan wasn’t a big city and I argued with them about that, to me it was.
Q: What is the hardest thing about throwing that people might not realize?
Dani: People see us working out and they see that we lift hard and they see that we throw hard, but everyone always says “Oh, I’m jealous of throwers because you guys don’t have to run.” But contrary to popular belief, one of the hardest things about throwing is that we don’t really run. That was really hard for me at first because I was used to running and I like to run.
Q: Who is your personal hero?
Dani: Besides my parents, who are awesome, my track coach in high school. Her name is Norma Finnesy. She is just this bombshell woman. She tells you how it is and how it’s going to be, but she loves you so much. She’s just one of the most intense, loving, emotional, encouraging people.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of K-State?
Dani: When I came to K-State, I was worried that I wouldn’t have any lasting connections with people and that was the farthest thing from what actually happened. When I came back for my second semester of school, I couldn’t hardly walk across campus without seeing somebody that knew me by name and that I could say hello to. It’s familiarity and for someone like me, that’s huge.
Q: What would high school Dani say about the success that college Dani has had?
Dani: High school Dani would be incredibly proud and incredibly excited to become the person that I am, but I think that she has no idea what she’s in for. I’ve just changed so much, not only as an athlete but as a person. So high school Dani would be excited and have all of this new motivation and be ready to go and college Dani would have to say, “Slow down, you’ve got a long way to go still.”
Q: What’s your second favorite sport?
Dani: My second favorite sport to play is definitely volleyball. I played volleyball, basketball and a little bit of tennis in high school. Honestly though, I like playing any sport, but I feel that I’ll be able to play volleyball the longest because I can play recreationally with my friends.
Q: What is the last movie you saw?
Dani: This is kind of embarrassing but last night, for the first time, I watched most of “Star Wars Episode IV: (A New Hope).” I’d never seen it before. I know I’m terrible. But my friends found out that I hadn’t seen it and they decided yesterday was the day, so I’m almost through with that one. I’m getting up to where I’m being culturally informed I guess.
Q: What do you see and what do you want for your future?
Dani: What I want is to just continue in my journey with athletics. You never know in this kind of arena what your future holds because tomorrow could hold a devastating injury or it could hold a breakthrough to your best throw ever and you just never know. I just want to continue to learn and grow and develop myself and help other people develop, because one of my passions in addition to being an athlete is helping younger athletes develop their own technique and their own interest in the sport.