Photos by Hillary Ehlen
All-American. Record-holder. Conference champion. Future eye doctor?
Senior Alyssa Olin has already cemented her legacy at NDSU. She’s the school’s top javelin thrower and at one point this season, ranked ninth in the world. The success surprised Olin and now she has a decision to make. But first, she would like to end her career as the nation’s top thrower. Not bad for a 5-foot-2-inch former pole vaulter from Mott, North Dakota.
Bison Illustrated: How did you manage to break your personal best in your first competition of the season?
Alyssa Olin: “I felt pretty good toward the end of my training last season, and I knew I just wanted to keep building for next season and we trained pretty hard, so I expected a jump. I didn’t expect that much, but with our lifting and our training, I knew it was going to be better than last year.”
Bison Illustrated: So, this all came down to work in the weight room?
AO: “I would say just overall I got stronger in the weight room, but then you have to transfer that energy into the throw so that’s where technique comes into play. We were doing lots of drill and lots of throwing solely focused on technique, and so being able to put it together is what made that throw happen.”
BI: You were diagnosed with spinal stenosis before the beginning of last season. How is your back feeling after all the work you’ve put in the weight room?
AO: “I did a lot of physical therapy to strengthen my muscles around it. My back is actually feeling really healthy, so it was one less thing I had to worry about and I feel really healthy now so I don’t have to worry about the health going into season is huge.”
BI: How did you adjust your training after the diagnosis?
AO: “I wear two braces in the weight room. I wear my throwing brace, and I throw a lifting brace to protect my back. During comp and in training, I’ll wear a back brace, but not only that, we’ve adjusted a lot so if I was feeling any pain or discomfort we’ve adjusted from there.
BI: You were the number one javelin thrower in the country for three weeks before someone beat your mark. Now you’re second. Do you feel more pressure after a great start to the season?
AO: “I feel pressure, but I like it. It’s what I expect. I like having the support. I’m definitely happy with everyone who has been supporting me and reaching out to me. It just helps me know that I have a great base back home, here and around the community.”
BI: Speaking of back home, you’re another Class B North Dakota student-athlete making noise on a national stage. Where does this come from?
AO: “I think it’s the underdog demeanor. I know we have never been big at really anything. We’re underrated, so it puts a fire under us to get going.”
BI: Like a big chip on your shoulder.
AO: “It is. I like having that chip on my shoulder. I’m not done. I want to be able to finish strong and show that small town Class B student-athletes have what it takes to be on the top level.”
BI: We saw you got into Indiana University’s School of Optometry. When does that start?
AO: “I don’t know, it depends on how the season ends up. Once my eligibility is done I think I’ll be able to tell a little more once that comes around. I have a seat in Indiana for Optometry School, that would start in August, but right now everything is up in the air.”
“I’m not done. I want to be able to finish strong and show that small town Class B student-athletes have what it takes to be on the top level.” – Alyssa Olin
BI: If you pursue javelin professionally, it will still be an option in the future?
AO: “If I do end up continuing to train and throw javelin for the next couple of years, Optometry will always be there because I have a passion for that.
3: The number of weeks Alyssa Olin had the farthest throw in the NCAA.
71: The amount of feet Alyssa has improved her javelin throw by since her freshman year in 2014.
12th: Where Alyssa olin finished last year during the NCAA championships meet.
64: The distance, in yards, of Alyssa Olin’s farthest throw.
9th: Alyssa Olin’s highest rank in the world.