Amos Bartelsmeyer: All-American, German national champion
The best is yet to come.
On the heels of an amazing 2019, I sat down and spoke with German middle distance standout and Nike athlete, Amos Bartelsmeyer. The former All-American Georgetown Hoya was the 2019 German 1500m national champion, a 6th place finisher at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, and a semi-finalist (21st) at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Let’s jump into Amos’ journey from high school, to college, to the international stage.
Amos was born in Germany but moved to St. Louis, Missouri when he was just a toddler. As a young boy Amos lived up to his German heritage, focusing on soccer until high school. “There’s a lot of buzz around being a multi-sport athlete, but in my view it should just be up to the kid,” said Bartelsmeyer. “I did multiple sports and I think that’s the better way to go, but there are several athletes who started early in their specialty and saw incredible success in college”.
After a bit of a growth spurt, Amos decided to focus more on track. He had success at the high school level, highlighted by his 1:51.00 800m as a junior.
“I was lucky to have interest from a lot of schools,” he explained. “But to be honest, there were a lot of schools I was interested in who were not that interested in me.”
While not always viewed in this light, athletics and academics can go hand-in-hand. Often times, athletic programs at prestigious universities use their connections to help you stand out amongst the pile of applications. “I definitely wanted a competitive track team, but more valuable to me was a program where I would succeed as a student. Academics are important,” stressed Bartelsmeyer.
Amos talked to around a dozen schools, belonging to different divisions (NCAA DI, DII, DIII), and highlighted the importance of his official visits he took to check out the schools.
“I took four official visits, and while I am happy with my college experience, if I were to give 17-year-old me some advice I would suggest using my fifth one too because you never know.”
Visits can be essential as you can see how you connect with the coach and the team.
Find out more about Official visits here. 👇
“However subjective and potentially skewed that impression may be, it’s still super important.
“The group had good chemistry, I felt like I could fit in with them.”
In the end Amos decided to commit to the Hoyas at Georgetown, a Division I program in the heart of Washington DC, with a very competitive acceptance rate of only 14% for its very fitting School of Foreign Service.
On his decision to leave Missouri for the nation’s capital, Amos said, “I knew I wanted to get away a bit. I liked that it was in the city and I really wanted to study international affairs. I liked the coaches, campus feeling, location, and the urban setting.”
This diligence to finding the right academic, cultural, as well as athletic fit played a key role in Amos’ success on and off the track.
Bartelsmeyer graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 2017 with a degree in science, technology and international affairs and later graduated with his master’s degree at the business school in Georgetown. He has also been honored by the USTFCCCA on its track and field All-Academic squad and has won a number of Big East scholar awards.
On the track Amos won numerous Big East Conference titles, ran a sub 4-minute mile, made the NCAA 1500m final and was an All-American with his DMR team when they placed fourth at the NCAA national championship. While he had great success on the track, he was often held back by injuries throughout college. Feeling like he had more in him after completing his eligibility, Amos decided to take a chance and moved across the continent to the west coast.
“I was good but I wasn’t good enough to get a contract after school. My girlfriend was moving to Seattle and I thought I would follow her there while I completed my master’s program and continued to train.”
Needing a coach to continue to train at high level, Amos took his chances and sent the current University of Washington Huskies coach, Andy Powell, an email asking if he could train with his group. To his luck he was not only allowed to train with the coach, but also got an opportunity to be an assistant coach with the distance program at UW.
Fast forward a couple of months: Amos took his running to another level. He ran 3:36 in the 1500m, won the German national 1500m title in front of a large crowd at the historic Berlin Olympic Stadium, and earned himself a professional contract from Nike.
My key takeaway from my conversation with Amos was that despite his current success with running, he put his academics and college experience first which allowed him to grow into the successful athlete and student that he had become. This is also highlighted by the advice he has for high school athletes who are currently looking for their ideal school:
Try not to make your decision based solely on the coach, there is a good chance your coach may not be there in four years. If the coach was the only factor you and he leaves then that is unfortunate. The other stuff (academics, team, campus vibe) needs to feel good too. The reality is the coach might leave. This occurs often.
With a successful 2019, what are the goals of Amos for 2020?
“It is an Olympic year, I’m definitely shooting for Tokyo and looking forward to competing.”
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