FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The child of a sprinter and distance runner, Arkansas freshman Claudia Verstraten was blessed with the best of both worlds and emerged as a middle distance talent.
Unlike many of her teammates who began their athletic careers in other sports, the Australian native has been running competitively since her early childhood. Engaged not only by her parent’s passion for the sport, Verstraten fell in love with the general atmosphere it created and reveled in the close bonds she formed with others who shared her sentiments.
“I started ‘Little Athletics and Cross Country’ in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia when I was 6 years old,” said Verstraten. “My mother, Lisa Verstraten, was a sprinter when she was younger and my father Jack Verstraten ran longer distances, so as a result I ended up with a mixture of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers creating me to be the middle distance runner I am today.”
Coached by her mother throughout her adolescence Verstraten’s natural talent was put on full display at the Victorian Milers Club meet at Melbourne University in 2013 where she raced to a 2:09 performance in the 800-meter run. Verstraten remained consistent in her 800-meter performances over the next two years and also posted personal bests of 4:27.65 at 1500 meters and 4:50.1 in the mile along the way.
Encouraged by family friends, to consider Arkansas as one of her college choices Verstraten was sold on their stories of the program’s rich history and tradition before she even visited the campus.
“I decided about 2 years ago this is the university I would love to run for and study at,” said Verstraten. “When I came on the recruiting trip I fell in love with the place, the trails, the friendly people, the amazing facilities and everything Arkansas has to give! I knew this was the place where I would feel at home, where my coach, Lance would look after me and my health, and also make wonderful friendships.”
Excited for the season to begin, Verstraten is ready to contribute her talents for the best of the team. Look out for the gifted middle-distance Australian runner this year.
Claudia Verstraten At-A-Glance
Hometown: Geelong, Australia
High School: Sacred Heart College
|800m||Melbourne VMC Meet||2:09.0|
|1,000m||Melbourne VMC Meet||2:50.12|
|1500m||Sydney Junior Nationals||4:27.64|
|Mile||Melbourne VMC Meet||4:50.1|
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