Teams and individuals only get one opportunity to start a season off right. That’s the approach senior high jumper Erynn James has going into the Blue and Gold Invitational at Notre Dame Friday.
James said it’s important for her to qualify for the Big East Indoor Championship as early as possible so it alleviates pressure to qualify for it in later meets. It also sets the standard for the rest of her season.
Injuries have plagued her over the years, including a stress fracture in her left foot at the end of her sophomore year. James hopes to have her best season with the help of full health, a different approach presented by new assistant coach Nick Davis and this being her senior year.
“Instead of doing full approaches all the time, (Davis) will break the first five steps down or break down my jump,” James said. “It’s easier for me to fix things when they’re broken down instead of just jumping all the time.”
Coach Bert Rogers said he doesn’t expect the men’s or women’s teams to put out their best performances of the season at this meet because the long distance runners, sprinters and jumpers are still in training.
“We’re looking to run our best for indoors in the end of January and through February. For (the long distance runners and sprinters) this meet is more of a time trial or a fitness test to see where we’re at,” Rogers said. “The idea here is we want to do the best we can with where we’re at. In the long run, if we put up our best marks in December then we wouldn’t have had a very successful year because we want to be putting up our best marks at the Big East.”
The throwers are a different story. Rogers said they should be throwing their best from the start.
“The throwers, the way that training works for them, are ready to throw some big marks right away,” Rogers said. “This is a good opportunity for them to get out there and get started.”
For Rogers, the two most important parts of this meet are finding out what type of freshmen the team has and getting out against other competition.
“We’ve been training all fall, and now we’re finally going to be facing somebody from a different team. The team’s been chomping at the bit to get out there and get after it,” Rogers said. “This meet will give me more of an idea of what our freshmen will be capable of at this level.”
Junior sprinter Tyler O’Brien, who set the school indoor records in the 60-meter race and the 200-meter race at this event his freshman year, now has his sights set on the individual 400-meter.
“This will be the first time I’ve done an open 400 indoors since my senior year of high school,” O’Brien said. “It’ll be interesting to see where I’m at. I’m just hoping I can qualify for conference and put down a good mark, nothing too crazy yet. I’m just trying to see where I’m at.”