Alex Hellenberg is a star both on the track and in the classroom. Her career as a Bobcat has been nothing short of admirable and unique. Hellenberg made impressive use of her time at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colorado, where she won a 4A state championship in the triple jump as a senior along with earning all-state and all-conference recognition, breaking numerous program records, earning a letter in four sports and being named her class Valedictorian. Alex has also made impressive use of her time at MSU. She has balanced double-majoring in computer engineering and film with a minor in photography and the training that comes with being an NCAA Division I athlete, all while finding time to enjoy Bozeman. Enjoy my interview Alex Hellenberg!
What are some of your favorite aspects of the MSU Track & Field program?
Really, the track team here is a huge community. As a freshman not knowing anybody coming from Colorado, it was a great group of friends to come into college with, which is really nice. Some of my best friends that I have now are from the track team. It’s really just a great community.
What was the process like deciding to come to MSU?
It was actually a really funny process because I really wasn’t recruited. I came here on an academic visit with just my parents because it was one of the only places that I was really solidly academically interested in. It turned out my admissions counselor was actually a track coach, and so I had mentioned about emailing one of the coaches but I had never received an answer because they were actually switching emails. The admissions counselor told me to just go talk to them, so I went to Tom’s [Eitel, MSU T&F assistant coach) office and said, “I am interested in joining the track team.” I showed him my marks and grades and he agreed that I would be a good addition to the team, so that’s how I became a member of the program.
What made you choose to major in computer engineering and why do you enjoy it?
I’ve been interested in computers forever. In high school I took a technology class that actually got me an Apple certification, so that's what really got me into computers. I also thought electrical engineering sounded cool, but then I looked into Montana State and saw that there was computer engineering and I thought that’d be perfect as a best of both worlds. It’s not a very common degree, and so it’s a unique program combining computer science and electrical engineering.
Do you have any plans for after graduation?
Well right now I’m really just having fun because I am also majoring in film and minoring in photography, so I am really all over the place. Right now I'm really interested in animation so we will see how that all plays out.
With such a heavy academic load how do you find balance with indoor and outdoor seasons?
What we usually do is take a heavier credit load in the fall semester and then a lighter spring semester to work with traveling and such. This definitely makes the fall very challenging to balance. There’s hard training, more classes and all sorts of stuff. Personally, balancing my degrees has required me to take 20 and 21 credit semesters, which was the reason I redshirted one season. I was taking a 20 credit spring, so I traveled for indoor then got to finish up my 20 credits, which was kind of nice.
What’s your individual goal for the rest of the indoor season?
I did have a lifetime best in the triple jump a couple weeks ago, so I would like to improve on that even more to be in the top three for the all-time indoor records. I am fourth now, so I am pretty close! And with pole vault, it has been a little frustrating trying to match-up with poles, because with the wrong poles, even if you have a great jump, you're not going to make the bar. So I would like to match-up on poles really well and go mid-twelves again.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to do a lot of photography when I have a little time to myself. Currently, I am crewing for some senior film sets, so I am assistant directing for one of the BFA gals who is doing a film/photography mash-up project. That's been something I have been doing on the weekends we’ve had off, which has been a lot of fun.
Favorite memory as a member of the Bobcat Track & Field program?
One of the best for me was being able to score at the last Indoor Conference Championships because it was my first score at conference. I’ve been unfortunately injured for a lot of the conference championships, so it was really cool to support the team in that way.