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Woman of the Year finalist: Alyssa Hasslen

The Arizona graduate is striving for the Olympics, but hasn’t forgotten her long-term goals

Hasslen was a two-time Academic All-American and a three-time All-American thrower at Arizona.

Alyssa Hasslen
University of Arizona
Track and Field
Division I
Pac-12 Conference

GPA: 3.81
Major: Retailing and consumer sciences, family studies and human development
Two-time Academic All-America honors
Dean’s list every semester
Four-time University of Arizona Academic Champion
USTFCCCA All-Academic Team

Three-time All-America honors
Holds school record for second furthest shot put
Competed internationally four times
2014 MSPF Indoor champion
2013 USA Outdoor Championships shot put bronze medalist
2012 USA Olympic Trials finalist (6th place)

Community Service
Organizations served: Ronald McDonald House, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Nash Elementary School, among others

Four-time team captain
One year on campus SAAC
2014 Life Skills Career Achievement Award

Alyssa Hasslen is on the cusp of living a dream that millions of kids strive for but rarely fulfill – competing in the Olympics. She nearly qualified in the shot put for the 2012 Games in London before an injury threw her off course. But she wasn’t deterred. Now, with a decorated college career at the University of Arizona behind her, Hasslen’s sights are set on competing in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

But that’s not her only goal. She graduated with honors in May with a degree in retailing and consumer sciences. Unlike most of her peers who thrived in the classroom, though, she has put her career on hold. Instead of starting down the path to a career in sports merchandising, she has taken on two part-time jobs that give her the flexibility to continue her rigorous training schedule. Even though Hasslen is close to fulfilling her ultimate athletic aspirations, she admits the decision to forgo a full-time job wasn’t a simple choice.

“My dream to have a successful career in merchandising – and ultimately work for Nike – is just as important to me as competing in the Olympics,” she said. “It was hard for me to put that dream on hold while seeing my classmates move on in pursuing their careers.”

Hasslen splits her time between working in retail, working as a nanny and training with her college coaches. For most people, two jobs and high-intensity training would be too much to handle, but Hasslen has found that she has more time on her hands than ever before. She works as many as 35 hours a week and devotes time to training, but the schedule isn’t as rigorous as the one she faced while she was a student-athlete at Arizona. Her time there, balancing academics and athletics, prepared her for a life balancing career aspirations and Olympic dreams – she understands how important those four years were.

“Going to practice but no longer being part of the team has been a hard adjustment,” Hasslen said. “But I’ve come too far to give up now. I needed to take a step back and reflect on how much track has impacted my life. It’s helped me become who I am today.”