April 5, 2022 at 4:15pm
Morgan Vogels

How Millikin senior Anne Longman has made her mark on campus

Millikin University senior Anne Longman, an arts technology major from Lake Forest, Ill., had a strong connection to Millikin long before her college search began. As the fifth member of her family to attend MU, Longman has made her mark on campus through her involvement in multiple organizations in addition to being a member of the Big Blue track & field team.

"My mom graduated from here, my grandparents went here and they actually met at Millikin, so when I told them that I was going here, it was a pretty exciting thing," Longman said.

As a member of the track & field team, Longman competes in the multi events, including the indoor pentathlon and the outdoor heptathlon. In other areas of campus, Longman has served as the vice president of public relations and as the president of the Student Honors Advisory Council in addition to being involved with the Greek life organization Alpha Chi Omega.

"I really enjoy being busy, I like having a lot of things to do," Longman said. "On the track team, my event that I participate in is called the multi, so historically I just enjoy having something constantly going on. It's nice to be involved in all of the different areas on campus, between athletics, academics and Greek life, it almost balances itself out because those are three very different things."

The indoor multi event, the pentathlon, consists of the 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800m. Outdoors, the event consists of the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin throw and an 800m run. With the wide array of event types, athletes who participate in the multi attend multiple different practices to refine each skill alongside the athletes who specialize in those event groups.

"We go from event group to event group, going to a hurdles practice and then a jumps practice right after," Longman said. "There's a lot of things you have to do outside of practice to prepare. I weight lift on my own and do shakeout runs. Making sure you're staying healthy, staying positive, eating right and taking care of your body in general is super important."

Anne Longman

During the meets where the multi events take place, which is typically at the indoor and outdoor conference meets each season, there is a 30-minute break between events. From the time the last competitor is finished with the event, the clock starts, meaning the entirety of the multi takes about four and a half hours indoors.

"There's a lot of time for you to get in your head and sit there and think," she said. "I think the hardest part about it is mentally staying tough during it. People always say you have to have a short-term memory because if one event goes badly, you have to reset your mind and move onto the next one."

When the Millikin track & field multi athletes compete in meets that do not involve a multi event, the athletes rotate through the events to make sure they compete in all of them at least once before they compete in the multi altogether. If there is something the coaches feel they specifically need to work on, they have the opportunity to enter those events.

In the past, several other athletes have taken on the task of participating in the multi, including Joey Davies on the men's side who made the 2021 Division III National Championships last year in the decathlon, breaking the Millikin school record in the process. This year, juniors Julia Seaman and Emilie Mineo have also committed to the feat.

As the veteran, Longman has taken on a leadership role amongst the multi athletes.

"My main goal for this year is to be able to help them," Longman said. "It's nice having other people there, someone else to talk to and just hang out with during it. My hope is to be able to take them under my wing a little bit and help them with it, but they're doing great so far."

While Longman weighed her options during the college search process, she knew she was not ready to be done being an athlete. She found herself competing in every event during her high school career at least once, except for high jump and throws. When she discovered the multi as an option, she knew it was the perfect opportunity for her.

"In high school I kind of kept rotating through events since I loved doing all of them, but I didn't really have a standout event," she said. "Once it was presented to me to do the pentathlon as a legitimate option, it didn't really ever cross my mind to do anything else. It was the right idea."

Longman has been involved in the cross country program throughout her time at Millikin in addition to her time spent as a track & field athlete. After not participating her first year, she felt like she was missing out while watching her friends compete. A member of the team her sophomore year and during the modified spring 2021 season, she made the decision to sit out her senior season to focus on training for the multi.

"The idea of strictly training that much mileage when I had so many other things to focus on, I was kind of nervous that there was an over usage looming for me in the distance if I continued with so much mileage," Longman said. "I think this past cross country season was my favorite cross country season just because it was a great fit for what I wanted to do in terms of performance learning and taking photos."

As an arts technology major with a concentration in visual media, Longman had the opportunity to document the fall 2021 cross country season through photographs and a video project about Janvrin Road.

"The Janvrin video was something that was stirring in the back of my head for a very long time, so when it came time to actually film it and put it together, there weren't that many questions in the way it was going to go," Longman said. "I had such a clear image of what I wanted it to look like, and everyone on the team was so excited that something like this was coming together. They all wanted to be in on it."

Longman joined the team at their early morning training sessions at Janvrin Road, a country road just north of Decatur, Ill. The familiarity and ease of the loop allowed the team to focus on the little things, such as how they were executing the workout and how they were behaving as a team. At two of the sessions, instead of running, she borrowed a bike, took off into the distance then waited for the athletes to run towards her.

"I think the Janvrin video might be one of the videos I've produced that I'm most proud of just because it came from such a place of, I love all the people on the team and I love this sport," she said. "It was definitely the definition of a passion project. It was something I had really wanted to do, something I had been excited about for so long, that being able to finally do it was very satisfying."

With the practices beginning before 6 a.m., the athletes had the opportunity to see plenty of sunrises on the countryside.

"One of the most enjoyable parts of cross country is just getting to be out there with everyone," she said. "From the videography perspective, it might not seem like it would be the most beautiful place to just stand in the middle of the field, but honestly it is pretty cinematic out there."

Longman mixed in some footage from a meet along with photos of the athletes. She committed to her role of not only documenting her teammates during their season, but also being there to cheer them on the whole way.

In high school, Longman was focused more on studio art than digital art, with painting and drawing as her main artistic mediums. At Millikin, she has been able to become versed in several different areas of digital art along with continuing to paint and draw in her free time. She has since done freelance professional photography work including weddings and headshots, but last summer, she had her first big photography opportunity.

"Every day I got to wake up in the middle of the forest and take pictures, which is the ultimate dream, and get paid to do it in a place that I loved," Longman said.

Camp Manito-Wish YMCA, located in Boulder Junction, Wis., was a summer home for Longman growing up. Along with several other members of her family including her grandpa, dad, and sister, she was a camper there as a child. She served as the camp photographer for the entirety of the summer, arriving at the camp the week after classes ended and departing just a week before the Fall 2021 classes began. Kids that attend Camp Manito-Wish are able to spend time in the camping area, along with participating in activities like backpacking, canoeing and kayaking trips.

"I absolutely love Camp Manito-Wish and I knew I wanted to go back in some capacity," she said. "I saw this position was open and it just seemed like a great fit."

The American Camp Association holds a photography contest each year to recognize the creative work of their camp photographers throughout the United States called the Golden Lens Award. Longman entered five of her photographs in the contest. The award honors a winner, honorable mention, and several others as medal winners.

"I was just hoping that maybe something would come out of it, and then I woke up one day to an email saying I had gotten the Honorable Mention," Longman said

Longman traveled to Portland, Ore., in February to receive her award at the American Camp Association National Conference. The trip out west gave her the perfect opportunity to visit the University of Washington, where she will be attending graduate school in the fall for their Museology Master’s program.

"When I was younger, museums just kind of existed, I got to go to them and it was awesome, and then one day I realized that somebody actually gets paid to do that every day," Longman said. "I became pretty seriously interested in pursuing some sort of career within that. I was a greeter at the Art Institute in Chicago for a while, and it solidified the fact that I really wanted to continue some form of work in a museum."

Part of the appeal of moving out west for her graduate studies connects back to her childhood summers at Camp Manito-Wish and her love for the outdoors.

"I would love to work for the National Park Service one day, helping with public education in their visitor centers, designing exhibits in their museums, or signage in the parks," she said.

Until then, Longman will continue to focus on the remainder of her studies and the 2022 track &  field season with the support of her Millikin teammates.

"Our team is supportive, I think that's something that we have always prided ourselves on," she said. "When you show up to a meet and Millikin is there, you can always tell because everyone is so loud."

One of Longman's favorite memories was at the indoor College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) conference meet her first year. The 4x400 men's relay team ran so fast that they placed out of the second heat. After winning by such a margin, they made the podium.

"We had our entire team standing outside the track just absolutely screaming for them," she said. "The energy in there was unreal, I'm sure the other teams could feel it too."

In the spring season, the team started a new tradition during longer races like the 5k and 10k where teammates would stand along the track and take a selfie with the Millikin athletes competing in the races to send in the team group chat as an update. With the events sometimes taking place at the same time or at different venues, it helps the team to continue supporting each other.

"Track might be an individual sport in terms of when you go out there, it's just you, but scoring-wise our whole goal is to make sure our team gets as many points as possible," she said. "I had never competed in the high jump before I got to conference my sophomore year in the middle of the pentathlon. It was the second event, and I had never done it before. I was nervous, but I ended up making it through and scoring for the team. If the team wasn't there to support me, I don't think I ever could have done it."

In the heptathlon, Longman's score of 3,197 from last season is fourth all-time in MU history. This season at the CCIW's indoor conference meet, her score of 2,504 in the pentathlon gave her the second highest score in the Millikin record books. She finished in sixth place overall in the pentathlon at this year's indoor conference meet.

"I really love this team and I'm really going to miss it," she said. "I feel like I'm internally aware of the fact that my time as an athlete is coming to a close, but I'm very happy that I got to spend four more years doing it at Millikin. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much or gotten nearly as much out of it if I was with any other team or with any other coaches."

Longman's next opportunity to compete in a multi event, the outdoor heptathlon, will be at the CCIW Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Wheaton, Ill., the weekend of May 6-7. As the season continues to roll on, it won't be difficult for other teams to identify when Millikin is competing.

"When you're at the start line and it gets really quiet," Longman said., "and from 200 feet away you hear someone yell 'Go Blue!' it's just like, yeah, that's a very Millikin thing to do. That's just the team energy we have."