Student Q&A: Samantha Conaway
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Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Despite her hometown of Las Vegas, Samantha Conaway is not your average “city girl.” She spent much of her childhood riding quads on the Nevada sand dunes and helping out with her family’s business, a Jeep touring company.
What was it like growing up in fabulous Las Vegas?
Despite what you may think, growing up in Vegas was nothing outside of the ordinary. Vegas is actually more suburban than city-like. It’s nothing like San Francisco or Chicago. The only thing that was a little outside of the ordinary was being able to go down to the Strip for events like prom and homecoming.
What brought you to SNC?
In my freshmen year, SNC was starting their first cross-country team, and I was recruited for it. I was already enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno and did some research and realized that Lake Tahoe would be a far better experience than Reno.
How does cross-country running compare between Tahoe and Vegas?
Two different worlds. Vegas is all about running at 3 p.m. in the hottest part of the day when it’s around 120 degrees, whereas Tahoe is about running at 6,000 feet with snow on the ground. That’s a really big change, especially considering the fact that it never snows in Las Vegas. I had never even seen snow falling until I moved here.
Are you still on the cross-country team?
Even though the experience was great, after my first year I decided to leave the cross-country team because I found a new passion, which was weightlifting. I had barely been inside a gym before. Even though I was in great cardio shape, I felt like the weakest one in the gym. After a couple of months of pushing myself, I fell in love with the lifestyle. I actually recently decided that I’m going to start training to compete in my first bikini competition.
Is there a lot of pressure being a girl in the weightlifting world?
It’s really not something that any of my girlfriends are big on, so it’s kind of hard to find other girls to talk about it with. At first it was intimidating, always having to squeeze my way through a weight room full of guys, but after a while I gained confidence not only at the gym but in myself as well.
What do you like to do out of the gym?
I really enjoy spending time with my friends and exploring all the wonderful things Tahoe has to offer. There wasn’t a lot of outdoor activities to do back home, so it’s nice that Tahoe offers that. I was definitely obsessed with trees when I first moved here because Las Vegas really doesn’t have any.
What was it like for you as a freshman?
A lot better than high school. Tahoe has a different atmosphere than Vegas, and I felt like I could be more myself here. It also really helped that my best friend ended up moving here with me so we were able to lean on each other.
Where do you see yourself after graduating college?
Hopefully I’ll have graduated with my marketing degree and gotten my personal trainer license. This way I can coach others in the gym both physically and online. I would really love to have a marketing job within the fitness industry, but my ultimate goal is to help people and make them feel good about themselves.