University of Miami triple jumper John-Patrick Friday came off the infield of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday afternoon already thinking about his future.
“I’ll be back next year,” he said.
In spite of his high hopes going into the meet, Friday didn’t make the cut to be one of the nine jumpers in the final. He finished 19th overall with a wind-aided jump of 51 feet, 5 3/4 inches in his third attempt.
“I think I was just a little bit too hyped because I made it to nationals,” he said.
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With the Hayward Field crowd of 11,168 roaring on a windy night packed with only national championship finals and with the junior jumper at his first NCAAs, that may be a bit of an understatement.
“I expected the crowd to be big, but once you’re on the infield it’s a whole different world,” Friday said. “It’s crazy. It’s ridiculous. I would want everybody to get to actually experience this if they get a chance.”
He knows now, though, what it will take to do it again. “Next year the goal is to go 53 (feet) because now I know what it takes to make it to the finals here at nationals.”
The winner, University of Florida senior Marquis Dendy, out jumped his nearest competition by over two feet. His wind-aided winning jump was 58-1 1/4.
Next year, Friday hopes to make qualify for NCAAs in more than just the triple jump. During the regular season, Friday competes in all the jumps—high, long and triple.
This year he battled some tendonitis in his hamstring, but said it wasn’t really a factor in his performance. “I still felt it a little bit, but I was trying to keep it out of mind,” said Friday. “I felt like I did OK. Clearly not as good as I wanted to do, but like I said, I’m a junior, first time here at nationals. I just hope to get better.”