This past Saturday, the Hopkins men’s and women’s track and field teams travelled to Lancaster, Pa. for the Diplomat Invitational, their first meet of the indoor season. Throughout the day of the competition, both teams saw a wide range of exemplary performances.
On the men’s side, Hopkins claimed the top-four spots in the 800-meter run, as well as the top-six spots in the 3,000-meter run. Most notably, sophomore Ted Oh was honored as the Centennial Conference Track Athlete of the Week for his first place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:51.67.
Meanwhile, the women’s team had an equally impressive appearance at their first race of the indoor season. Senior Jenn Su set a new team record in the 60-meter hurdles. Junior Erin Brush placed first in the mile with a time of 5:19, and former Athlete of the Week, junior Natalia LaSpada, took home first place in the 5,000-meter run with a personal record of 17:17.68.
But this week’s Athlete of the Week goes to a fresh face. With a first-place finish in the long jump and a third-place finish in the high jump, this week’s Athlete of the Week goes to junior Maya Hammonds.
Hammonds has been a consistent contributor for the Blue Jays over her three years at Hopkins.
Performing in a variety of events, including the long jump, high jump, heptathlon and more, Hammonds is a huge asset to the team, placing and scoring for the Jays in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
This past weekend was particularly impressive for Hammonds, who earned a new personal and school record in the long jump, with a mark of 5.51 meters. She has also been named Co-Field Athlete of the Week by the Centennial Conference.
Following this announcement, Hammonds sat down with The News-Letter to discuss what the accomplishment meant to her and what her personal goals are for the remainder of the track and field season.
The News-Letter: How did it feel to earn this week’s title of Centennial Conference Co-Field Athlete of the week?
Maya Hammonds: I was very surprised to hear that I had been chosen. I knew I had jumped well, but I hadn’t really been aware of other athletes. I was really happy, and it made me motivated to compete even better in the future.
N-L: What is your favorite event and why?
MH: My favorite event is definitely high jump. There’s something freeing about it, and it’s the event I’ve been doing the longest, so it feels really natural.
N-L: What role does the mental game play in determining your success in events such as the high jump or long jump?
MH: In long jump, I think the fear of fouling is definitely the hardest thing to think about. The jump I felt the best about fouled, and that messed me up for my last jump, because I lost some trust in my coach’s guidance. Next time, I know to trust what he says, because he’s proven over and over again to be an extraordinary coach. For high jump, it’s a lot more mental.
Any negative thoughts can mess with your approach or jump, so I always try to stay positive. I haven’t been competing very well in high jump, so it’s really hard to get those thoughts out of my head and just focus on what I’m doing in the moment.
N-L: Any personal goals you are hoping to achieve for the rest of the season?
MH: For me, I really hope to make an appearance at Nationals for the pentathlon, as well as the long jump. This weekend’s competition really got me motivated to train even harder, because I think I have what it takes.
N-L: Your next meet won’t take place for nearly a month. How do you and the rest of the team plan on using the time off to best prepare for the Great Dane Invitational?
MH: Within my training group, we’re focused on getting as many workouts in as possible despite weather, finals and spending the holidays home. There’s also an emphasis on staying injury-free so that we can come back in great shape.
Catch Hammonds and the Jays back in action on Jan. 13, when they return from winter break for the Great Dane Invitational in Staten Island, N.Y.