Getting the mind and body ready before an event is key, and the women’s track and field athletes understand the importance of relaxation, which is critical to performing at the highest possible level.
Junior Emilia Scheemaker is a strong example of this balance. She isn’t just meeting Eastern College Athletic Conference qualifiers in the long and triple jump, but she also broke her own triple jump record with a mark of 12.25 meters Jan. 25 at Cornell University’s Upstate Challenge. She was also named Empire 8 Field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 1 at the Empire 8 Indoor Track and Field Championship. She said practice is only a part of what the team is doing to be successful.
“It is kind of a combination of good things happening,” Scheemaker said. “Training is getting better, form is getting better, things are coming together better, but really it’s just being mentally and physically ready on the day.”
After winter break, the team got back into lifting which is a big part of training.
Scheemaker said that to let the body perform well, the mind must be clear. She has seen a sports counselor on campus to aid in her preparation before meets.
“It helps me with a lot,” Scheemaker said. “There are certain things that I do before each jump that help me focus and bring my energy level to the right level so that I don’t completely explode to jump or I don’t, like, put too little in it. It gets you at the right level.”
The sports counselor emphasizes the need to have body and mind together ready to compete.
“He tells me to relax completely before a jump, think to something like really happy, get kick back and be focused,” Scheemaker said. “It works.”
Assistant coach Mary Wallenbeck’s job is to focus on training jumpers. She has been with the Blue and Gold for 13 years, and she said she recognizes the factors that are important to delivering great results.
“The leadership from our seniors and juniors is one of the reasons for our great moment,” Wallenbeck said. “They are doing a really nice job bringing sophomore and freshmen up to what it is like to compete as a Bomber on the women’s track and field team. [This process] has a lot to do with it.”
Freshman Natalie Meyer is one of the most promising athletes for the future of the South Hill squad. She hit the ECAC qualifier in the high jump and pentathlon at the opening competition at Cornell Relays on Dec. 6, and since that day she has been maintaining good scores.
“I could tell right away that the team is very close and works hard,” Meyer said. “Our success comes from the encouragement everyone gives each other. We’ve been training together since the beginning of the year, so getting to know the team right away was a great way to start college.”
It is important for a team that everyone pushes each other to do their best every day, both on and off the track. As Wallenbeck highlights, a healthy lifestyle is crucial as well.
“Emilia Scheemaker has been here for almost three seasons,” Wallenbeck said. “She has really started to come around and understand what it takes on a day-to-day basis to be good, and that means rest, eating, more elements than just showing up to the track every day. It’s mostly being able to control what she can control.”
Scheemaker said coaches heavily focus on maintaining a strong diet, which can’t be overlooked.
“We got a whole list of what we should eat before and after workout,” Scheemaker said. “I [eat] protein, lot of carbs and right after running or lifting I drink chocolate milk, which is a really great snack.”
Scheemaker said mental training, a team-oriented mindset and a correct lifestyle are the keys to keeping the team’s positive momentum. By handling these factors, Scheemaker said she is confident she will achieve what she wants.
“I am running after the national title,” Scheemaker said. “I want to win Nationals, which is a huge thing, but I think I can do it.”