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Q&A with Shannon Cullen

Oregon senior having success in shot & discus this season

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:03 a.m. CST
(Michael Krabbenhoeft/
Shannon Cullen is a senior thrower for the Oregon track team. Cullen throws both shot put and discus, and likes to sing in her spare time.

Which do you prefer, shot put or discus?

That’s a hard one. Last year, it definitely would have been shot put, but I’ve worked with my coaches a lot on the discus, and it’s growing on me. It’s hard to choose one, but I guess I’d still stay shot put.

What’s the biggest similarity between the two?

Footwork, mainly, just getting yourself into the right position throughout your throw. That’s basically what we do in practice, just focus on footwork and form.

How cool would it be to finish your career at the state meet in Charleston?

It would be awesome, amazing … it would mean the world to me. Everybody told me at the beginning of the year that it would be hard to get back there again, especially in both shot and discus, and I’d have to put everything into it, but I really feel like I’ve done that.

What was your final volleyball season like?

It ended really well, with us almost going to state. The team we played [in the sectional final] ended up winning state, and they were a great team, so we didn’t have any regrets. I loved my team, and a lot of us still talk and stay in touch in school, even though the season’s been over for a while.

Is it a hard transition from such a big team-oriented sport to such an individual sport like track?

It is pretty hard, because I love team sports. I used to play softball, and it was hard for me to choose between that and track. I love softball, but I had to see if I could make it to state on my own, without having a team behind me to back me up.

Are you the type of person who relies on yourself more than others?

I definitely count on myself, and trust myself to go and do something on my own. I’m always focused on working harder and practicing things, and there’s a park outside my house, so I’ll go over there alone and just practice and practice.

What do you do other than sports?

I like to sing. I’m in honors choir, and I’m also the type of person who can go out in front of a crowd and sing on my own. It doesn’t bother me; I’m a very open person, and I usually just do what I feel like. I’ll sing anything, whatever sounds good at that time; I’m a very musical person.

So what’s your favorite type of music?

I have a favorite band or singer in every style of music, every genre. I like to listen to Eminem to get pumped up before track meets; I’ll sit in a corner, go off to the side and work out by myself, just get the music pumping. My friends know not to come bother me; they know I’ll tell them to go away.

Any other hobbies?

I’m actually kind of a stay-at-home, doing-homework type of person. I go out occasionally with friends, like maybe to a movie, but that’s about it.

What’s the last movie you saw?

Oculus. It’s a horror movie, but I like those; at a young age, my aunt put in a scary movie one time, and I had nightmares for a week … but I still love horror movies.

Favorite school subject?

Science. I want to be a veterinary technician. We took a field trip and saw how they take care of farm animals, so I think I’d like to study large animal biology.

Would a reality show based on your life get good ratings?

Besides the homework part, yeah, I think so. I do a lot with my family, and we’re very sports-oriented, so that would be fun to watch. My sisters Niatha [22 years old] and Bre [16] both play softball, and my brother Jake [14] is in track like me. Niatha and Bre are the same, and Jake and I are the same, and it’s a cool way for me to bond with my little brother.

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