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Oklahoma Student-Athlete Spotlight: Amy Backel
April 08, 2010
By Benjamin  Coldagelli
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

Amy Backel is a perfectionist.

The senior thrower for the University of Oklahoma track and field team strives to continually give her all, and nothing less.

“I’m a little OCD,” Backel said. “When I get started on something, whether it’s for track or school, I always want to do it to the best of my ability.”

Backel currently holds the school record for the javelin event. She has collected All-Big 12 honors three times for the indoor season and twice in outdoor events. Backel was also a 2008 NCAA Outdoor All-American in the javelin and competed in the 2008 United States Olympic Team Trials.

Backel’s performance and the work ethic she exerts in her sport is identical to her work in the classroom, where she majors in civil engineering.

“It’s odd, but I love math and really enjoy physics. So I just decided to go the engineering route,” Backel said

Backel has excelled at her coursework, achieving Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors three years in a row. She was recently named the 2010 OU College of Engineering Outstanding Senior in Civil Engineering. Backel currently holds a 3.98 GPA, which is driven by her love for her career field.

“My coursework is like the highlight of my day,” Backel said. “You can ask my coaches. I talk about my class work all the time.”

Backel has recently combined her two loves of athletics and engineering by designing new workout equipment for the team.

Her throwing coach, Brian Blutreich, had found a weight lifting workout on YouTube that used unique adjustable steel boxes. Blutreich showed the video to Backel and asked if she could design something similar.

“It was really cool,” Backel said. “It was really the first project I finished. I hope to work on some more workout equipment in the future.”

So how does a record breaking All-American track and field star balance her time to excel in both academics and athletics?

“I don’t know if it’s a balance or just chaos,” Backel said. “You learn how to live with it after awhile. I’ve learned to be efficient with my time.”
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