“Streu, party of four,” says the host at Red Lobster. Sitting down to dinner, is Taylor Swift, Skylar Austin, Rutger Smith, and Mandy Streu. In this fictional setting, Swift would talk about her singing career; Austin, Pitch Perfect front man would propose; and Smith would critique footage of Streu in competition. While this dinner would be ideal, it is more likely that senior thrower Mandy Streu would be found at track and field practice.
For the last five years Streu has been a member of the St. Ambrose Track and Field team. This winter season is a little different for her. After taking a redshirt during a previous outdoor season, she is throwing unattached for the indoor season. This means that she competes separately from the St. Ambrose team at meets. When spring comes around she will use her last season of eligibility.
Currently, at indoor meets, she is competing in the shot put and the weight-throw, but those are not her only events. She has also competed in discus, hammer throw, and even javelin at outdoor meets.
“Shot put is my favorite event. I feel that each year I have something new to alter in my technique which in turn helps me throw farther. My close second favorite is the hammer. It is a fun implement to learn. It looks scary but once you learn the physics of the event and understand the technique it is so fun and easy,” Streu shared.
Part of her technique comes from being able to conquer her nerves. During Indoor Nationals last year she wore a bracelet that said, “trust your technique, relax, and have fun.”
“I looked at it each time before I walked into the ring to throw. This helped remind myself and keep my mind off the nerves I usually get when I compete at big meets,” she explained.
Another factor of her technique comes from a perfected and specific warm up routine. One half hour before competition; cue music. A specific playlist has to be played before each meet for Streu because she finds motivation in music. Streu is no stranger to routines and music as she was captain of her high school dance team.
“My gym teacher told me I would be a good thrower. I thought she was crazy. I had been a dancer all my life so I wanted nothing to do with being a thrower. During high school I did not take it that seriously because dancing was my passion, “admitted Streu.
Coming to Ambrose and being forced to choose between dancing and throwing, Streu decided to continue throwing.
“I started it very seriously because my coached told me how much potential I had and I began to see improvement right away,” said Streu, “I immediately wanted to set high goals to achieve.”
Since this mindset came about Streu has become one of the most successful throwers in Ambrose history. She is a two-time All-American, a National NAIA Champion of Character, and holds school records in shot put, discus, weight throw, and hammer throw. She also placed second at Indoor NAIA Nationals last year.
Streu will finish her last semester at Ambrose competing and student teaching at the same time. Come spring, she will graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Be sure to catch Streu in action and see Ambrose history made as she competed unattached for the remainder of the indoor season, and again with the Fighting Bees for her final outdoor season.