The 2006-2007 Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field seasons treated me pretty well! The video above captures the opening meet of the indoor season. I always enjoyed opening the season at Cornell. A nice facility with fantastic competition from Western and Central New York.
I had a major breakthrough at this meet. It was my first meet over the 18m in New York State. Let me explain. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia, I stayed on as an Assistant Track & Field coach, working with the throwers. Our seasons always opened up at Kent State, located in Ohio. For about four years, I always hit my season best and or personal best throws at the Kent State opener. A couple of factors may play into that; 1) The best competitions I was a part of were usually held here (In December of 2005 I threw against the Ashland University throwers, along with Kibwe Johnson and AG Kruger). If you didn't bring your 'A' game, a 19m throw would not make the finals most years, and 2) I always felt the freshest at those opening meets. I didn't really bring high expectations of myself at these season opening competitions. I looked at my performances as rewards for the hard work I had put in leading up to them.
I came into this meet with a personal best of just over 60', from the previous season's opener at Kent State. On this day, however, I ran into a buzz saw that was Jesse Doty. Jesse, a graduate of SUNY Brockport, was and still is an accomplished weight/hammer thrower. He threw at the 2008 Olympic Trials, and also finished in the top 5 a couple of years at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships. His personal best weight throw is over 22m. His best hammer throw is over 70m. He got the most out of the gifts and skills granted to him.
Jesse threw a mark to qualify for the USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships at this competition. I do not remember how far he actually threw, but it was well over the 20m. I threw well, good enough for 2nd place, just under the USATF qualifying weight throw mark of 19.80m.
If you look closely, I have a fairly popular saying on my homemade shirt. Regardless of the competition I threw against, I always felt comfortable with my abilities and knew what I was capable of. It took me a long time to come to the realization that I should be competing against the tape, and not my competition. It is difficult to turn those emotions off. That maybe why I always felt more relaxed at these opening competitions. It wasn't until after this 2006-2007 season that I started enjoying myself more at competitions.
Thanks for reading!
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.