Since childhood, many have dreamed to fly like Superman or Peter Pan.
Sharon Day can fly too.
“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return,” is a quote of Leonardo da Vinci’s.
That is among Day’s favorite quotes. It fits the Cal Poly high jumper perfectly, as she hopes to compete in the 2008 Olympics.
Ever since the seventh grade, Day, now a senior, has been involved in track. Since a young age, she has been involved in some kind of sport, whether ballet with her younger sister or karate.
An Orange County native, Day played soccer and volleyball and competed in track at Costa Mesa High School.
Day’s roommate and childhood friend, Jenny Sparks, 19, and Day’s younger sister, Jazzy, 18, continued to play for the Costa Mesa soccer team after Day left for Cal Poly in 2003. Upon graduation, Sparks said one of her friends asked the coach if he would retire their jersey numbers. The coach told her the only jersey he would retire would be Sharon Day’s No. 9.
High jump is a gene that runs through the Day family tree. Day said her father, who is the track and field coach at her high school, competed in the high jump, as did her older brother Louis, 23, and even her grandfather. Her little sister Jazzy, who is a freshman at the University of Arizona, competes in the high jump as well.
Both Sharon and Jazzy Day were state champions in high school in the high-jump category.
Day was recruited by coach Sheldon Blockburger, who now coaches Jazzy at the University of Arizona, to come do track for Cal Poly. Originally, Cal Poly wasn’t Day’s first choice. She wanted to attend Stanford or UCLA, but chose Cal Poly because of its coaches.
In addition, Day made an agreement that she would get to play soccer as well.
Day said if she only got to do the high jump all year, she’d get sick of it, because being involved in two sports “makes you miss the other one.”
Day is a kinesiology senior, plans to change her concentration from exercise science, clinical track to independent courses study. No matter what her professional career turns out to be, she can see her athletic career clearly.
However, last fall her athletic career was put on hold when she broke her foot. Day said she was running one day and tripped and rolled her ankle. At first she thought she had sprained her ankle because she was able to walk home, but the X-rays taken the next day revealed that it was much worse.
Last spring, Day could not compete, nor play her position as a forward for the women’s soccer team this fall.
However, the injury did not hold Day back for long. After a little more than six weeks on crutches and two surgeries, Day is finally able to get back into training.
This fall, she conditioned and worked on building her strength and technique to be ready for the first indoor track meet of the season, the Run for the Dream Invitational in Fresno on Jan. 16.
Last month was Day’s first time practicing the high jump since July 2005.
Day won the national championship in the high jump as a sophomore in 2005.
She said that her track coach, Jack Hoyt, knows she’s been frustrated because she is not physically where she was before the injury, but must remain patient and wait it out.
“I’m rusty, but getting better,” Day said.
Track and field assistant coach Hoyt said she will be ready in time for the first meet to compete in the high jump.
“Until she gets the opportunity to compete, she won’t push herself hard enough,” Hoyt said.
He added that she is ahead of where he thought she would be since “from being in a boot back in July.”
If Day’s strength and running are normal from when she was healthy, all she has left to work on is her timing, Hoyt said.
After the Washington Invitational in Seattle from Jan. 27 to 28, bigger meets will be held throughout the season where she will face some pretty talented jumpers, including her sister Jazzy.
“We need to get her tuned up before the family grudge match,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt is very proud of Day’s work ethic and believes she will qualify for the 2008 Olympics. Hoyt said that the last season Day competed in, she was only three-fourths off the mark based on the requirement of 6 feet, 4.75 inches.
To go to the Olympics, Day has between July 1, 2007 and June 2008 to meet the world standard qualifying mark and must place in the top three at trials.
When the Olympic hopeful is not training, she loves to dance and hang out with her friends.
Sparks said Day is “always up to do anything” and “one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.”
Despite the rough year Day has experienced as an athlete, she knows she can make it to the Olympics.
She has no plan to come down any time soon from her flight, saying, “I want to be an athlete as long as possible.”