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 No Horsing Around for this KHS Senior - Academically and Athletically, Diana Trautmann is at the Top of Her Game

March 19, 2008 - Since she was a young child, Diana Trautmann has had a tendency to set high goals and then go out and achieve them.

The Knightstown High School senior continues to take steps forward, conquering mountains in the process, and attaining goals that would make average 18-year-olds raise their eyebrows in disbelief.

Diana was a member of the Knightstown Lady Panther basketball team and will be a four-event athlete in track and field this spring. Her accomplishments on the court and track are a sidebar to a life filled with high expectations and achievements beyond her years.

She ranks number one in the KHS class of 2008, carrying a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and holds her academic accomplishments close to her heart.

But dishing out assists on the basketball court, out-racing the competition on the high school track and excelling in the classroom is just a part of the unique package that makes up this young lady.

Since she was a child, Diana has had a true love for horses. An accomplished barrel racer, she has been competing in the rodeo since she was about 10 years old. She has competed with the International Professional Rodeo Association and the National Barrel Horse Association for years, finishing in the top five nationally and qualifying for the world championships.

“Horses have been a big part of my life as long as I can remember,” Diana said. “I think that’s why I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian for a long time. I’ve been all over the country and have competed just about everywhere. It is definitely my passion and has led me to where I am today. In college I want to study veterinary sciences and make a difference in that field.”

 

Diana has competed and succeeded in practically everything she has done. Three years ago she participated in the Midwest Match, which is a competition involving the top riders from 10 states in the Midwest. She finished runner-up to the girl who would go on to win the world championship.

But that competition is what led her to a dramatic change of direction in her life and opened her eyes to what she wanted to do with her future.

Again, she placed a mountain-sized goal in her own path.

“I’ve always been around horses and I’ve always been quick to pick up on something that just wasn’t right,” she said. She was riding in the Midwest competition when disaster struck and her horse suffered a massive injury.

The mare, named Jayme, was hurt in an almost identical manner in which Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro went down during the Preakness Stakes last year. With one leg shattered, like Barbaro, Jayme had to be destroyed.

It was a crushing blow to Diana, but inspired her to make a bigger difference in her chosen field.

“We took Jayme to the University of Illinois and I saw the entire process,” Diana said. “I thought it was something I would fit right in to.

“I want to go into equine veterinary studies and someday prevent something like this from happening. I have a huge idea, maybe a far away goal, but I want to make a difference in this field. They have equine sports medicine facilities in Kentucky and other areas, but they don’t have anything like that in Indiana.

“Right now you have to go somewhere else to get the kind of treatment and have access to the facilities. My goal is to set up my own facility and offer that right here in Indiana.”

 

When talking about her various successes in life, Diana is quick to point toward a supportive family and coaches, as well as friends. Her parents, Rick and Sandy Trautmann of rural Knightstown, surrounded her with the horses and accompanying property that have been such a big part of her life.

“My mom and dad and my brother have always been there for me,” she said. “They have been more supportive than you could ever ask.”

Her brother Josh, 26, is a 2000 KHS graduate and is currently stationed in Kuwait. He will be transferred soon to Camp Anaconda in Iraq and he is always on Diana’s mind.

“He had his photo taken with Jessica Simpson,” Diana laughed. “I joked with him about how tough it can be over there if he’s posing for pictures with her. But we’re all proud of him and what he’s doing.”

Diana also had much praise for Lady Panther basketball coach Dawn Basicker, whose impact has extended well beyond the basketball court.

“Coach Basicker has taught all of us a lot of stuff that applies to every day life,” Diana said. “I’m not just talking about basketball. She’s been there for a lot of life lessons, too.”

High school sports – and the teammates she has had - have impacted her life in many ways.

“You start up friendships, like on the basketball team, and you feel like those are the kind of friendships you’ll have for the rest of your life,” she said. “Those are the people you sweat it out with and work together with to battle through things. Those are some of the friendships you hope will stay with you forever.”

A two-year starter for the Lady Panthers on the basketball court, Diana never really got the opportunity to hone her skills to the level she would have liked. With everything else going on, there just wasn’t time.

“I never could play AAU basketball in the summer because of the riding,” she said. “But I knew all along that my future would be with the horses, not on the basketball court. You’re riding every day and every weekend. It runs from April to early October and sometimes you are gone four or five days at a time.

“You’re always riding or competing, or doing the really fun stuff,” she laughed, “like cleaning the stalls.”

 

Diana is still not sure where she will go to college, but has narrowed the choices down to Evansville, Butler or Indiana University. That decision will be made once she determines which school will best prepare her for continuing studies after her undergraduate requirements have been met.

She had been looking only at out-of-state schools before recently getting the big news that she will be receiving a scholarship from the Lilly Foundation.

“When I found out that I got that scholarship I thought ‘wow, this really changes everything.’ That will take care of my tuition for four years and it covers everything but room and board. Evansville and Indiana had already offered to cover those, so if I go to one of those schools I’ll have a full ride.

“I have always wanted to be a veterinarian and now I have the opportunity to do that with a scholarship. It’s pretty exciting.”

She plans to major in pre-veterinarian studies with a minor in business administration. The business minor will help her be qualified to fulfill her dream of opening her own equine sports medicine facility some day.

Diana has already visited Butler, went to Evansville last Friday and will travel to Bloomington to check out Indiana University this weekend.

In the meantime, she is working out every day after school, honing her skills and getting into shape for the upcoming track and field season at KHS. Diana will again run the both the 100- and 200-meter races this year, and has added the 400-meter sprint to her portfolio. She’ll also participate in the long jump this season, another event she fared well at last year.

When asked who she would like to sit down to lunch with if she could chose anyone, Diana didn’t hesitate.

“Oh, definitely, Jesus,” she said. “I wouldn’t ask him anything. I think I would just sit there and listen to him. He could tell me whatever he needed to tell me.”

 

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