VIDEO: Athlete of the week: Silje Fjortoft

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SMU’s cross country senior, Silje Fjortoft has already started her season smoothly winning first place at two consecutive meets this year.

Last year, Fjortoft was named South Central Region Athlete of the Year and also named to the NCAA South Central All Region Team.

In the same year Fjortoft took eighth at the Notre Dame Cross Country Invitational 5K.

During her sophomore year, she was named Conference Athlete of the Year and Conference USA Champion at the Cross Country Championship.

Fjortoft also received All-Academic honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and was named to the Conference-USA Cross Country All-Academic Team.

In Fjortoft’s freshman year, she was named the NCAA South Central Region Athlete of the Year and Conference USA Cross Country Newcomer of the Year and C-USA Freshman of the Year after one of her strongest performances at the NCAA Regionals and the C-USA Championships.

Before attending SMU, Fjortoft participated in several international events including the European Cup 2000, the World Championship 2007 and the Under-20 European Cup 2005.

Fjortoft grew up in a small town on the coast of Norway. She started doing sports at the age of 10.

She tried everything from track and field to long jump and shot put.

After a little bit of trial and error she started to run 800- meters and found out that middle to long distant runs were her specialty

Fjortoft later evolved into bigger running competitions.

“I just think it’s a lot of fun working out and go to competitions and show what you worked for,” said Fjortoft.

After high school, Fjortoft received an offer from SMU. Fjortoft said her time at SMU has been an exciting journey that she doesn’t regret.

Fjortoft said her experience doing full time sports at SMU has been much easier compared to competing in Norway.

“I have a greater support network here, I have a team, this year we’re more team based, in Norway it’s more like you’re an individual,” she said.

Fjortoft said her two first place wins came as a surprise since her performance struggled last semester. She suffered with low iron and started getting treatment over the summer.

“I knew I was better than last semester, but I didn’t know what the competition was going to be like. I felt like I was in good shape,” Fjortoft said.

Fjortoft’s future goals after college are to focus on running and possibly travel to Kenya to do train on altitude running.

“I hope to qualify for the Olympics. I don’t know if I’m going to make it this year, but I’m going to try. If not I’m going to try for the next one,” Fjortoft said.

Want to catch Fjortoft and the SMU Cross Country in action?

Their next meet will be Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the UTSA Ricardo Romo/Six Flags Fiesta Texas Classic in San Antonio.

Video edited by Andy Garcia atgarcia@smu.edu

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