By Daniel Leon
With a little more than a month until the 2013-14 track and field season kicks off, one Fresno State All-American is rising to the competition.
Ana Folau, a senior discus thrower, works out on the practice field and in the gym every day – all while maintaining her humility.
Last season, Folau was one of 14 Bulldogs (the most in 4 years for Fresno State) who earned a trip to the NCAA West Track and Field Preliminary Championships in May 2013 at the University of Texas in Austin. She was a qualifier for the discus, recording a throw of 50.36 meters.
Making it there was definitely one of the more remarkable accomplishments in her track and field career.
“It felt great because it took me three years to get there,” said Folau. “A lot of hard work went into it, a lot of dedication and a lot of time in the gym and in the (throwing) ring.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t consider myself what a lot of other people do, I like to keep myself humble,” she said.
Folau attended Florin High School in Sacramento at which she excelled in track and field. She did not take an interest in the sport until she was a junior in high school. Her strength and size enabled her to succeed as a shot put and discus thrower right away.
Due to the success she had in her junior and senior years, she received various offers from Division I schools in California and even a couple from out-of-state, but mentioned that she chose to come to Fresno State because of the throwing coach Lisa Misipeka.
“[She] sold the school to me really well,” Folau said, “and it’s not too far from home.”
Folau is not the only athlete in the family. One of her brothers, a senior in high school, has visited Fresno State for its football program. However, Folau doesn’t pressure him to go to her school.
“I told him that he should go wherever he wants to go, ill be perfectly fine with his decision.”
All of the athletic success that she and her brother have achieved has been an exciting for she and her family, she said.
Preparation and focus are critical in any sport, and Folau has her own way of doing it. Music plays a key role for her as she enjoys listening to all types of music, but her favorites are soul and classical music.
“It allows me to calm myself down and, since I get distracted easily, it prevents my mind from going everywhere,” she said.
Although she did not advance from the preliminary round to the NCAA Championships, it was still a fun, humbling and learning experience for the senior.
Folau has high hopes for this upcoming track season as she aims to take the next step by placing in the top 12 in the preliminary championships and make it to the 2013-2014 Division 1 NCAA Championships, which will be in Eugene, Ore. However, her goal is to not only make it to the NCAA Finals but also place and receive All-American honors at the end of the season.
Folau and the Bulldogs will kick off their 2013-2014 track and field (indoor) season on Jan. 29th.