There’s no “I” in team, but that cliché doesn’t apply this weekend for the men and women of the Cal State Fullerton Track and Field team who are traveling to UC Irvine to compete as individuals in the Steve Scott Invitational on Saturday.
The CSUF coaching staff decided that because this weekend’s meet would not have team scoring; it would be the best opportunity for their athletes to build on their strengths, both mentally and physically so that they hit their peaks at the right time of the season.
“We’re doing some different things with our athletes this week to hopefully help the peaking process by running them in different events,” Fullerton Head Coach John Elders said. “We’re giving them a break from doing their regular event. And all this is to try to give them either a mental break from their event or to work on more speed or whatever.”
Junior Destany Cearley, who normally competes in the 400-meter hurdles, will instead participate in the 400-meter dash, while school record-holder Jordan Horn will take a break from the 5,000 meter run to compete in the 1,500 meter run.
“I think [the coaches] want me to run the open 400 meters to help me in the 400 [meter] hurdles,” said Cearley, who has placed first and fourth in the hurdles in the last two meets. “Because if you run the 400 [meter] hurdles too many times in a row then your mind gets used to it, and you start running more for time rather than focusing on your performance. I think it will relax my mind from thinking about the hurdles that way when I come back it’s fresh again.”
Freshmen high jumpers Matt Turner and Jonathon Golden will take the weekend off from competition altogether. Turner joined Golden in the seven-foot club after placing second in the high jump last weekend in the Cal-Nevada meet at Fresno State.
The duo will head to the NCCA Regional competition at the end of the season, and Elders holds his freshmen in high regard.
“I can’t imagine that in Division I that there are two freshmen high jumpers from the same school that have gone over seven feet,” Elders said. “I don’t know how we could verify that, but that’s probably the best freshmen tandem high jumpers in the nation.”
And although the Titans are taking a break from the ordinary, those who are competing are still taking this meet seriously.
“Even though I’m not running [the 400-meter hurdles] I’m still visualizing it all in my head and I’m getting prepared for conference,” Cearley said.
Elders said he believes this is the prefect time for the team to prepare themselves for the final stretch of the season and the Big West Conference Champions.
“This weekend is important for the athletes in the mental aspect to have a positive experience and a positive performance so that they can start to develop that momentum going into the conference meet and then regionals for those who are moving on,” Elders said.