SENIOR KICKER Katie Hnida
Senior Katie Hnida first made history at the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl when she became the first woman to appear in an NCAA Div. I-A game. She came on at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter to try the Lobos' first PAT after Desmar Black's interception return for a TD, but the attempt was blocked, leaving UNM with a 6-3 lead. Two days after the game, Hnida was on ESPN, CNN, ABC's Good Morning America, CBS' The Morning Show and Fox News This Morning. Hnida did not stop there as she made history again in 2003. Against Texas State, she became the first ever woman to score in an NCAA Div. I-A game with an extra point following a Lobo touchdown in the fourth quarter. Hnida began sending out personal football highlight tapes to universities early last year and after reviewing the tapes, UNM special teams coordinator Jeff Conway contacted Hnida and an arrangement was made for her to visit UNM in May of 2002. It was at that time that head coach Rocky Long extended an invitation for her to walk-on and participate in tryouts during the first two weeks of August. At Colorado, she became the second woman ever to dress for an NCAA Div. I-A football game, joining Kathy Klobe (Louisville - 1995), when she suited up for Colorado in a game against Kansas on Sept. 18, 1999. She was also the first woman to ever dress for a bowl game on Dec. 31, 1999, in CU's appearance in the Insight.com Bowl against Boston College, but never did play in a game for the Buffaloes
Question: What are your personal goals on the field for the rest of the 2003 season?
Katie Hnida: "Win the MWC, beat Colorado State and make every single kick I attempt. All my girlfriends want engagement rings, but the only ring I want is a conference championship one."
Q: What is the toughest challenge in kicking a field goal or extra point?
KH: "Getting the snap, hold and kick timed and perfectly put together."
Q: Which part of your game do you feel you need to continue to work on to become a more complete player?
KH: "Continuing to increase my height on the ball and distance. I also want to add 100 pounds to my frame so I could tackle on kickoffs."
Q: What do you focus on when preparing to kick a field goal or extra point?
KH: "Nothing. When I go to kick, the entire world fades away. Kicking is so natural, everything occurs automatically."
Q: What non-football talents or hobbies do you have? Which hobbies would you like to pick-up or improve off the field?
KH: "I love to read, write, cook (especially for the team-they will eat anything), act and dance. I hope to pursue my love of writing and work it into my career."
Q: Has your father ever given you any advice on how to balance athletics and academics, with his experience from playing at the University of Pennsylvania?
KH: "He's taught me how to balance but still work as hard as possible. I strive to do my best in all areas of my life, just as he does. He also taught me first faith and family."
Q: What the best part of being on a football team?
KH: "Where do I start? I think I am the luckiest girl in the whole world, getting to play the sport I love with wonderful teammates and coaches."
Q: What's the best class you've taken at UNM and why?
KH: "Public Speaking with Ann Skinner Jones. I had a terrific group of classmates."
Q: What do you and your teammates need to do to accomplish your team goals this season?
KH: "Keep our attitude positive and work as hard as we have been."
Q: What made you choose UNM? What impressed you?
KH: "Without a doubt the attitude of the football department. Hard working, honesty and integrity are as important as winning games. I also loved the Red Menace."
Q: What did it feel like to score your first ever points at UNM and become part of NCAA history?
KH: "It had been a long hard road to get to that point, but when it finally happened I felt humbled. I am truly blessed to get this opportunity and be surrounded by such great teammates, which is what has truly made this experience so wonderful at UNM. Besides, I've played for so long and football is so normal to me that I really forget I'm making history, it's just what I do."