Linfield College athlete and 2009 Squalicum graduate Brinn Hovde always wanted to run competitively, growing up in a town filled with runners.
She starred as a prep golfer instead, and never took advantage of her opportunity to run for the Storm's cross country team. She always thought it was too late to start a new sport.
Hovde's proving it's never too late to start something new these days, even if it means having a jam-packed schedule. She has a message for athletes who are in the situation she was five years ago.
"I have definitely picked up a lot of new things since I started college," Hovde said in a phone interview. "Anytime I'm talking to new golf recruits, I tell them to broaden their horizons and not to be too set on anything. I think so many people think they can only do a sport in high school if they have been playing for five or six years. I didn't think I could do (cross country) then, so I think it's great to have an open mind."
It may have taken Hovde until her senior year in college, but she is finally satisfying her urge to run competitively.
Although golf and cross country are in the same sports season, she's competing in both.
It's the ultimate juggling act.
"It's crazy. Most of our cross country workouts are at 6:30 in the morning, so I finish the workout in time to go to class by the time my classes start." Hovde explained. "After class, I go to golf practice. The weekend competition schedule has worked out perfect. Cross country has been on one weekend and golf is on the next. It couldn't have been more ideal."
Hovde said she saw it as a sign both sports competitions happened to fall mostly on alternating weekends. Somehow, she hasn't missed a meet or tournament.
So did Hovde, who qualified for three state golf tournaments at Squalicum and went to Linfield to play golf, end up trying a new sport as a college senior?
"The first couple of years, golf was going great," Hovde said. "Then my junior year, it was a bit discouraging as far as golf went. I started running more and more to relieve stress and to take my mind off things. It was fun to see how my times would go down. I found I enjoyed being competitive with myself, and a couple of my friends told me I should try cross country."
Hovde competed in local races such as the Chuckanut Foot Race and Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15K while home during the summer before her senior year. When she went back to Linfield, a private school in McMinville, Ore., Hovde wanted to keep running.
She made a convincing argument to Linfield cross country coach Greg Mitchell, and Hovde has been a two-sport, same-season athlete since.
"I think everybody says I have done amazing for my first year," said Hovde of her cross country success. "I feel like I really have my place on the team. I'd say I'm middle of the pack. If I was a freshman, my coach said he would have been thrilled with my potential."
Balancing a busy schedule is nothing new to Hovde. Besides playing golf and running cross country, she is a resident assistant on campus. She's worked the position for three years. Hovde also works with the school newspaper, radio and is vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
Somehow she's made true on all her commitments. That doesn't mean there hasn't been some close calls. though.
"One weekend we had a cross country race on a Saturday morning in Salem (Ore.)," Hovde explained. "The race finished up, and the team got back on the bus. We got back just in time for me to jump in with the golf team to go to Walla Walla or somewhere in Eastern Washington. I ended up going to the golf tournament in my cross country uniform. It was a busy weekend."
Hovde is a mass communications major with a visual culture minor. She hopes to work in public relations or advertising with a sports-based company.
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