Sophomore Matthew Su.
Last weekend, the Hopkins men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Frank Colden Invitational in Collegeville, Pa. The Blue Jays had a combined six first-place finishes, with both teams contributing three apiece.
On the women’s side, sophomore Faith Brown finished in first place in the high jump, recording a mark of 1.52 meters. Sophomore Samantha Levy finished the mile with a time of 5:10.84, earning the underclassman her first collegiate win.
However, the Jays stole the show in the pole vault. Senior Helen Girod took first, tying a personal best of 3.35 meters. Junior Catharine Wain took second, setting a new personal best of 3.20 meters. Freshman Annie Gutierrez and sophomore Sophia Cortazzo also saw the podium, tying for third with a mark of 3.05 meters.
The men also had a strong showing, starting off with senior Brandon Fielder, who placed first in the mile with a time of 4:22.75 and third in the 800-meter run, finishing in 1:58.76.
Hopkins dominated the 3000-meter run, claiming the top three spots. Junior Liam Wall finished first, and freshmen Connor Delahanty and Patrick Dye followed close behind.
Despite many outstanding performers, sophomore Matthew Su has been named The News-Letter’s Athlete of the Week for his impressive finishes at the Invitational.
With a mark of 6.97 meter, Su took first place in the long jump. He followed that up by claiming second place in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 9.10 seconds and capping off a stellar weekend for the Blue Jays.
Su spoke with The News-Letter about his performance this past weekend, his preparation for his events and his views on the season going forward.
The News-Letter: How do you feel about placing first in long jump and second in hurdles? How has your performance in these events grown since your freshman year?
Matthew Su: It was definitely a morale booster to have done well at this meet. I had been struggling a little bit earlier this season in terms of performance and results, so it was exciting to see my marks back up to where they were. On paper, these performances are close to the same as my freshman year, but this year I know I still have improvements to make. Throughout our training, Coach [Alex] Jebb has given us various performance tests that show I am definitely a better athlete than I was my freshman year, so I am excited to see those improvements translate into my results later on this season.
N-L: What is your favorite event and why?
MS: My favorite event has always been long jump. When I first started, I had tried all the different events, and long jump just clicked for me. In my first meet, I competed in long jump, and I remember how much I loved it. That hasn’t changed to this day. That feeling of just flying through the air doesn’t come around often.
N-L: In the moments right before the event, how do you physically and mentally prepare yourself? What is the mindset that you go in with, and does this change with each event?
MS: Physically, I try to stay relaxed and warm up like I always do, trying to be as consistent as possible from meet to meet. Different events vary a little in terms of warming up, but for the same event I always try to do the same thing. Mentally I try to block everything out and just try to stay relaxed. My mindset always changes from meet to meet. It really depends on my goals, as there are different things to focus on for each meet and each event.
N-L: With track being an individual sport (excluding relays), how does the team dynamic impact your overall performance?
MS: The team here is so close that they are like my second family. That team dynamic definitely helps my individual performance. Coach [Bobby] Van Allen always encourages us to feed off each other’s success. When a teammate has a great performance it really gets me excited and gives me that energy and adrenaline which in turn helps me perform well.
N-L: What are your personal goals for the rest of the season?
MS: My personal goal for the season is to qualify for Nationals and then hopefully compete well enough to place when I’m there.
N-L: How do you feel going into next week’s David Emery Invitational?
MS: I’m definitely excited to compete at Boston University after having a strong performance this weekend. Their track is one of the nicest ones out there, and there are some phenomenal athletes that compete there, so as a team we always look for big performances there.
Catch Su and the Blue Jays on Friday, Feb. 9, in Boston, Mass. as they compete in the David Emery Invitational at Boston University.