Ryan Chartrand

Sharon Day could be on her way to compete at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
All she has to do is jump 6 feet, 4 _ inches (or 1.95 meters) and place well at the Olympic trials in the summer. (That’s about a half-foot higher than most people, in case a visual is needed.)
Her personal best is 6 feet, 4 inches (or 1.93 meters), so she needs to jump only two additional centimeters in order to meet the quota, a feat that may sound far easier than it actually is.
And while her schedule is anything but pedestrian, being on both the track and field team and the soccer team, she attributes her success to maintaining a regular (albeit strenuous) workout as well as receiving motivational support from her coaches and fellow student athletes.
“I just stick to a regular workout, or what I consider a regular workout, and do different event work throughout the week also,” said Day, a kinesiology senior from Brooklyn, N.Y. “Having a training partner around to sort of compete with also helps and serves as a motivator, and while my original training partner has transferred schools, we’ve since gotten a new freshman who’s really good at the high jump as well, so that helps to push yourself in its own way.”
While Day is able to draw support and motivation from her teammates, many other athletes on the track and field team find inspiration in what Day has accomplished and use that to push themselves to do better as well.
Whitney Sisler, a graphic communications freshman who is also on both the track and field and soccer teams, affirmed Day’s ambition while praising her.
“She’s the most ridiculous person that I’ve ever met, athletically speaking,” Sisler said. “She can honestly make you feel incompetent, but in a good way, because it makes you push yourself to do better and strive toward what she’s already accomplished.”
Day’s commitment has given her extraordinary versatility, Sisler said.
“I seriously believe that she could do well at any sport she picked up, if she wanted to,” she added. “It’s just her ambition toward being the best that she can be in these sports that’s preventing her from doing so.”
Amidst all this training for soccer games and track and field events, and traveling all over the country – even all over the world – to compete in them, Day has still managed to find time to get school work done to the point that she has only three classes left to complete before she graduates in June.
Such time management skills are enough to boggle most students’ minds.
Day’s hectic schedule this month included leaving Monday to go to Fresno to compete with Team USA in an event called “Team USA vs. the World,” which Day and her coaches believed would provide her with a good opportunity to size up both herself as well as the competition.
She just missed the Olympic “A” standard but did set a Cal Poly indoor record by jumping 6 feet, 2 _ inches, good enough for second place behind three-time Olympian Amy Acuff.
It was the third time Day, a three-time All-American and 2005 NCAA champion, had worn a USA uniform at the senior level.
She will leave Wednesday for Glasgow, Scotland, to compete with Team USA in the Norwich Union International Meet, an event that features top athletes from five other countries.
Needless to say, both Day and her coaching staff expressed their enthusiasm for being able to compete internationally with Team USA.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity for Sharon to be able to compete overseas in international competition,” said Jack Hoyt, the Cal Poly assistant track and field coach focusing on vertical jumps. “Her goal is to make the Olympic team this summer, and this is a great way to start getting comfortable with international competition.”
Day concurred that the experience will help her tremendously down the line.
“All of this travel is good practice for me, being without my coach, for when I graduate but will still be competing both in America and internationally,” Day said.
Once she returns from Glasgow, Day will go to New York City to compete in Madison Square Garden at the Millrose Games, a yearly indoor meet that’s a sort of kickoff for the indoor season and will feature many high-caliber athletes at the college and professional levels.
“Then when she returns to Poly, we’ll be back training hard through February, trying to be fresh for other indoor meets,” Hoyt said.
And if Day can meet the established 6-foot, 4 _-inch quota during this time, she should be able to take advantage of her good position and place well at the U.S. Olympic Trials at the University of Oregon, which is the all-Olympic qualifying event for track and field.
The trials begin June 27 and go through the first week of July.
So while Day has managed to juggle both school and strenuous soccer and track and field schedules, she undoubtedly has been a reason to be proud for herself, her family, her coaching staff, her teammates and all of Cal Poly.
And if her past success is any indication, they’ll probably all have the chance to proudly watch her once she’s in Beijing this August.

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