This month's TrueSport x SportsEngine Athlete of the Month is a multi-sport dynamo from the court to the field. She is a therapist to fellow teammates and is often called a "Die Hard" because she never gives up on anything.
"You don't have to follow what most players do by going to the top school. You can do anything at any school you're at, as long as you're focused and you work hard. " — Elena Delle Donne
Like Elena Delle Donne, Lily Angsouvan can take on challenges and adapt.
"Lily has the determination, resilience, and perseverance of someone many years older, but she still manages to enjoy life and have fun with her friends and family. Even though Lily deals with anxiety, she doesn't let it affect how she sees the world and never lets anything sideline her for very long," states her mom, Lorraine Hartkemeyer.
A match to her stamina and resilience, Lily sat down for an interview with TrueSport Ambassador, and Team USA Rower Sophia Vitas, who is preparing for the 2023 Rowing World Championships.
Dive in to learn more about these two powerhouse women.
From Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lily Angsouvan will be a sophomore in high school this year. She is a year-round, multi-sport athlete, playing four sports in total (basketball, tennis, softball, and volleyball).
Sophia: "So you're busy, haha."
Lily: "Yeah, the softball season just got over, which is the one sport I really love, so I am sad it's over, but volleyball is starting up again. We [the team] are starting to prep in the weight room for the season."
Sophia: "So you're gearing up for a good summer then!"
From Zero Sports to Multiple Sports
Lily noted she is a part of the Cedar Rapids Starlings travel team for volleyball. The Starlings are a non-profit organization providing girls ages 10-18 from all socioeconomic backgrounds and levels of play to train and compete in USA Volleyball's Junior League.
Lily's school was affected by COVID-19, so the school closed down all sports during her sixth and seventh-grade years.
In the face of adversity, Lily joined sports with other friends in eighth grade—starting with volleyball.
Lily: "I am the oldest of two brothers, so I tested the waters first. I started playing in eighth grade, and everything grew from there."
Sophia: "What's the most important thing you've learned from playing multiple sports?"
Lily: "Resilience and mentality. You have to learn to push yourself because no one else will do it for you. Transitioning from swinging in softball to hitting a volleyball straight on is hard. You always have to push yourself to do better."
Sophia: "Yes, there's a lot of different movements, right? So you have to be more mentally agile. That's what's also helped me the most with rowing. I didn't row until my junior year of college and actually had no intention of rowing. I just showed up to the orientation and was like, "Well, I have all this experience in different sports and like being competitive, so why not?"
Lily: "Very cool."
Sophia: "I, too, learned a lot about how to push myself, similar to what you're learning. Push your boundaries a little bit to learn more. So how do you transition between seasons? Or how do you bounce back if you have a bad season?"
Lily: "I just try to remind myself this is a new season—a new chance to get better. I'm going to push myself and practice every day. A lot of my practices crossover. Basketball and volleyball interfered with each other, so I had to switch my focus fast."
Focusing on the Court
Sophia: "That's amazing. How do you prep for a game, then? Do you pump your teammates up?"
Lily: "Yes, haha—I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift. And I tell my teammates, "we got this; we can win this!""
Sophia: "I love that; so much of that goes into my practices too. Is there any advice you've been given by a coach that has really stuck with you?"
Lily: "Yes, my volleyball coach named Naomi. She has always told me to "focus on the court," as in don't bring your outside life into the court. Just don't worry about anything."
Once I can establish focus, I cannot worry about what's going on around me. — Sophia Vitas, Team USA Rowing
Sophia: "Yes, that's the biggest thing I also focus on because we race down lanes. You have competitors on each side of you, so it's really easy to get distracted. It's just a lot of adrenaline. Once I can establish focus, I cannot worry about what's going on around me. I've almost quit a few times. How do you deal with the highs and lows?"
Lily: "In volleyball and my other sports, too, if I am getting angry, I just pause and push myself to breathe. I tell myself I can do this."
Sophia: "Positive self-talk is great. I mean, there is no bigger enemy than your own mentality. I think that is a huge asset if you're able to control that. Positive self-talk means a positive mind, attitude, and focus."
Spreading positivity is why SportsEngine and TrueSport created 'Athlete of the Month.' In hopes of inspiring future youth athletes with stories of people like them!
Speed Round 'This' or 'That' with Lily
(Answers are in bold)
- Go to a movie or Watch a Movie at Home?
- Send a Text or Make a Phone Call?
- Homerun or Shoot a Three-Pointer from Midcourt
- Learn a Lesson or Teach a Lesson
- Running Laps or Do Setting Drills
- Play Sports Outdoors or Indoors
Favorite hype song before a big game?
- Don't Blame Me by Taylor Swift
Favorite sports team?
- University of Iowa Women's Basketball Team