For Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot), it was the last indoor track ODAC Championships of his career, and he was focused. His specialty - the triple jump.
Grant had a lot riding on this past Sunday’s meet: defending his triple jump title in the ODAC, a potential trip to nationals. When his day started out with a few bad jumps, however, he didn’t lose his cool.
“Grant’s series in the triple jump showed his growth as an athlete,” said Coach Erick Camodeca. “Most athletes would have crumbled after several bad jumps. Grant kept his faith in himself and training. I feel that was a breakthrough moment for him as well as for his younger teammates.”
He worked himself up to first place, and on his final jump he unleashed a PR of 14.30m (46ft-11in), cementing his repeat title and likely earning a trip to nationals.
“Grant has experienced a lot of success in his career, but I could tell this one was special to him,” said Coach Camodeca. “Every senior wants to go out on top, and to do it coming from behind with all that pressure on him was remarkable.”
Grant is currently ranked 16th in the nation, with the top 20 athletes in each event advancing to the NCAA National Championships. This weekend there will be a final round of “last chance” track meets for athletes to make their final attempts to qualify.
“I’m in an okay spot,” Grant said, “but I feel like by the end of this week I’ll end up making it to nationals. I just feel confident.”
Competing in track and field can be a mental game, and Grant feels he has the advantage.
“The last week is kind of pressuring because all they’re thinking about is making it to nationals,” Grant said of last chance meet participants. “So I feel like they are kinda anxious about making it but I feel like mentally it’s gonna be hard for them.”
If Grant does qualify for nationals, he doesn't care what ranking he has going in.
“The rankings don’t really matter until you show it in the nationals meet,” Grant said. “I’m coming in with some vengeance, because every year I go to nationals I end up not placing, so this is the year that I go for it. And I worked hard for it so it’s time for me to show it off.”
Grant has spent much of his athletic career at EMU adjusting to new coaches, and this year was no different.
“Having to learn a new system was kinda different... but I think this year’s been kinda good. I think I peaked at the right time, so I think it went really well.”
He’s grateful for the new coaching staff.
“Having Coach Cam and Coach Bob step in is probably the best thing that ever happened for the team,” Grant said.
Grant won’t be competing in any of the last chance meets this weekend to try to improve his mark.
“We are going to take our chances and let the weekend play out,” said Coach Camodeca. “If he makes NCAAs, great, we know he’ll be ready. If not there won’t be any disappointment as we have been focused on outdoor NCAAs.”
Grant has his goals ready for outdoor season.
“Break the school record, qualify for nationals, get All-American,” he said, “and then, I mean also, hopefully, qualify for long jump, too, for nationals, but if not, triple jump is just what I need to be.”
This will be Grant’s last-ever season of track and field.
“I mean I accomplished a lot here and I’m happy, I’m not disappointed, but...that was my first sport that I love to do, so... it’s gonna be hard, it’s gonna be rough, so just gotta make the best out of it.”
--- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern