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Hannam a hop, skip and a high jump away from nationals

January 28, 2011

Senior Tyler Hannam is one step closer toward defending his title of NCAA national high jump champion, as he automatically qualified for nationals with a leap of 6’10-¾ in just the team’s second meet of the indoor season.

Hannam reached his mark in his third attempt during the Midwest Invitational on Saturday Jan. 22, in Monmouth. Despite a hamstring injury he had been nursing since the beginning of the season, Hannam was unconcerned by his healing leg.

“I had a minor hamstring injury in my right leg that I got my first week back,” said Hannam. I felt it a little when I was warming up, [at the Midwest Invitational] but I stretched it out, so during competition it was fine.”

Even with the minor injury, Hannam did not expect to jump as high as he did.

“I was nervous about how I’d do,” said Hannam. “That’s normal before a meet, but I was confident I would do OK. It was an obvious goal that I wanted to reach the provisional standard height of 6’7-½, but I didn’t expect to go much higher.”

By handily surpassing the provisional standard, Hannam will not have to worry about losing his bid to nationals for his 6’10-¾ jump qualifies him for the automatic standard, meaning that no matter how he or his competitors performs for the remainder of the season, he is guaranteed a trip to the national meet on March 11-12 at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio.

However, Hannam has no plans of sloughing off as his sights are set on reaching new heights of seven feet and 7’2” for the rest of the season. To attain this goal, Hannam will have to exceed his mark of 6’11-½, which earned him the national title last year.

“I need to get stronger and faster,” said Hannam. “I’ve put myself in a good position because I don’t have to worry about qualifying again. Now I have plenty of time to recover and work on consistent repetitions.”

One would think that a lot of pressure would come with attempting to defend a national championship, but Hannam’s mentality about the gravity of the accomplishment remains  composed, yet resolute.

“There really isn’t as much pressure as there is hope,” said Hannam. “Everyone is willing for me, and I know what I have to do to get better; I just have to go do it. I want to use what I have to help push my team to work hard because I want others to do well too.”


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