As a young athlete with many options, it can be quite difficult to choose a sport or two with which to divide one’s time and energy.
Well, recently-graduated Boulder High senior Anna Katnik has always been good at time management and seemingly has limitless energy. So, she just decided to forego the selection process altogether and try to do everything she could during her time as a Panthers athlete.
Spreading her effort over a diverse portfolio of mainstream and niche athletics, Katnik competed in five different sports – volleyball, mountain biking, swimming, skiing, and track and field – and earned a total of ten combined varsity letters.
In hindsight, there is little Katnik would change.
“Looking back on it, I’m really glad I didn’t just stick with one opportunity,” Katnik said. “I’ve just met so many people and had so many great experiences and it’s been really nice to get to know different types of people and get all the experiences from the different sports. I’m really glad I tried so many different things while I could.”
Katnik started out swimming and playing soccer when she was young. She has played many, if not most, of the traditional sports at one time or another. But over time she developed a new love for outdoorsy niche sports.
Competing in so many different sports allowed Katnik to qualify for eight different state championship competitions between swimming, mountain biking and alpine skiing, the latter of which was with the Nederland High program. She won two team championships in mountain biking and also qualified for the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships as a member of the Boulder Junior Cycling team.
Of course, trying to do everything under the sun comes with disadvantages like making it more challenging to truly excel at one thing, occasional exhaustion and injury risk due to lack of rest.
“I think the hardest part was that a lot of the people I compete against are sticking with that one sport so they’re getting really good at it,” Katnik said. “It’s tough to keep up with the people who really focus on one or two sports. I’ve also gotten some negative feedback that trying to do everything isn’t good on my body because I don’t give myself enough rest.
“I didn’t do any of the sports all four years and sometimes I wish I would have done one all the way and seen it through. But I got pretty good at balancing it and it was still a really good experience for me.”
While Katnik may not have been the best player on any of the many teams she was on, she has always found a way to be a key member and significant contributor in whatever way she could.
“She’s a great athlete and one of her strongest qualities is her leadership skills,” Boulder Junior Cycling coach Pete Webber said. “By that I mean she always wants to make the team better and give back to the team somehow. She does a lot of sports but I don’t get the feeling that she does them for herself. She does them for the team. It always seems like she strives to use her endless energy to help the teammates she has, no matter what sport she’s playing.
“Like nothing I’ve ever seen, Anna just has a passion to jump in with both feet and cares more about the whole group and shouldering as much of the team spirit as she can.”