Interview with Katherine Hoskins
Photo by Matt Rousu
UNE student Katherine Hoskings’ first thoughts of university where “what am I doing?” and I don’t think anything could resonate better with a student’s first thoughts at the beginning of a degree… or throughout… let’s be honest…
Yet, when Katherine is faced with a national or world mountain bike championship, she knows exactly what she is doing – going for gold.
Katherine is one of the amazing UNE Sports Academy students currently living in Armidale with her family and is in her first year of a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology. Although, she is unclear of what career path she would like to choose, at the end of her degree she will be an accredited clinical exercise physiologist and would be able to work alongside physiotherapists and hospital settings helping patients who may suffer injury or chronic disease in exercise, no surprise she chose this degree because of her passion for sport and exercise, “I’m interested in the sort side of physio, there is so much to learn.”
Like any other Sports Academy student, Katherine juggles her studies with her training requirements. Her advice for managing a study load is consistency, “if you have a rest day, you can’t just say ‘oh I’m’ going to put the books up because it’s a rest day’ – it’s days like those where you’ve got to knuckle down and get the work done that you might not be able to with training.”
All students can agree that is hard some days to get into assessments and readings when the motivation is hard to find, but Katherine’s discipline and maturity towards her time management comes with practice from her schooling days, “you get good at time management,” she notes while explaining how she had to get into a good routine during year eleven when she trained and competed at the 2017 World Championships in Cairns – nothing compared to what many of us may have juggled in year eleven like a casual job and maybe the dread of the 200m track event at the school carnival against the fastest girl in your year… Yet, competitions have been a constant part of Katherine’s seasonal training and time management since 2013, “I’ve raced every national championships since 2013, apart from 2018… I was injured for that one.”
But of course, she was too humble to mention that she had won every single one of those championships during those years she competed… wow!
The National Championships are just the beginning of Katherine’s accomplishments. She has recently just returned from Canada where she competed for Australia at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, a lot further to travel than Cairns when she was the youngest to compete in the 2017 World Championships then,
“it was an incredible experience, you really can’t compare it to anything as I lined up with the fifty or so fastest girls in the world,”
– she mentions in the most casual tone as if she was explaining what she did on the weekend. Also note that to compete at the World Mountain Bike Championships you must be selected by your country – “there’s not many people that get to do it, I’m very privileged.”
Photo by HITIX
But how does a young girl like Katherine get to do something so impressive like a World Championship? Under her gentle nature and humble attitude, there are undertones of determination, with a huge dash of motivation and of course, a very disciplined training program. Her training schedule changes depending on the season, with training session six to seven times a week, consisting of two hours a day “with a bit more when I have time on the weekends,” as she spends more hours on the bike building endurance and during the main season her training cuts down to an hour and a half with focus turning towards speed and intensity.
Katherine is pretty lucky to be able to study in a town like Armidale where there is a large mountain bike community and so many different tracks to train on, “it was the main reason why I chose the University of New England to study at, if I lived in a city I would have to drive an hour at least to get to the closest mountain biking park, and cost wise, staying at home is much cheaper.” Out of Armidale’s four bike tracks, you would most likely find Katherine training out at the highly technical track at the SportUNE, the longer Pine Forrest track and sometimes the ones in town, “we are so lucky to have so many diverse tracks in Armidale.”
Another reason for Katherine choosing UNE is the Sports Academy program, which helps to support student-athletes, like Katherine. At the academy, students get one on one gym-based training with high-performance manager Matt Pine, who tailors each individual session to the requirements of the student and their sport whilst keeping up to date on the student-athletes strengths and abilities. For Katherine, the gym-based training sessions were new to her as someone who had never really stepped foot in a gym before, “being a newbie in the gym is a little bit daunting,” yet Katherine has enjoyed the introduction to strength and core training and having “someone to monitor and make sure you’re progressing and doing everything correctly, that is something you really benefit from being part of the Sports Academy.”
Between her studies and commitment to competition and the Academy, Katherine was also coaching at the 2Wheel Academy in Armidale – An academy that helps train mountain bikers get to a national level before branching off to bigger teams to train with. Katherine was coaching two athletes, “I really enjoy coaching two very motivated individuals, watching them develop their skills, speed work and determination in general, it’s incredible to watch and helps to keep you motivated.” Yet, highly determined herself, Katherine hopes to continue to improve her skills in mountain biking with more technical and challenging courses. Which is what she is focusing on now – #WatchThisSpace!
In a sport that is highly dominated by men, Katherine thrives in the adrenaline high and “sometimes dirty” sport with a positive outlook at how much female participation continues to grow. A leader on and off the bike, Katherine is sure to be an inspiration for all aspiring mountain bikers and school-aged girls in general, as her kind, calm and happy aura fills any room she steps into.
To follow Katherine on her journey through her degree and future feats follow her on