Hopkins in second place after first day of competition at CU Potts Invitational
When it comes to tackling something you've never done before, it's all about taking the right approach.
For heptathletes Brian Hopkins and Carl Lum, a better approach was, quite literally, just what was needed to get things off to the right start for them in their first heptathlon of the season.
Hopkins, a freshman never having before competed in the multi-events, began his debut in the six-event competition Friday night in Balch Fieldhouse at CU-Boulder. And a successful debut it was as he racked up enough points in the first four of six events to end up second place overall leading into tomorrow's competition.
However, jumps coach Brandon Masters had a few habits he was trying to break Hopkins of in his specialty event, the high jump, with the main one being his approach.
"Brian's approach in the high-jump has typically been very narrow, which makes the turn more difficult," said Masters. "We're working on getting him to make his turn wider to make his technique smoother and more efficient."
The new approach certainly worked for Hopkins as he placed second in the event. Although his jump of 1.9 meters was not his personal best, he was bested only by Colorado's Alex Von Hagen, a former high school state champion in the event. Furthermore, considering Hopkins had not previously competed in back-to-back events leading into the high jump, his mark certainly bodes well as he will gain more experience in the multi-events as the season progresses.
"When we went to other meets prior to this, we would try to make our own multi-event by putting them into three or four things at a meet to get them used to it," said Masters of his training techniques for the two men, "Today we're learning while competing, which is what this meet is for since it's the first heptathalon of the year."
And Masters wasn't just getting Hopkins to tinker with his approach, Lum had some adjustments to make as well.
"We've been trying to get Carl to have a more aggressive approach in the high jump," said Masters. "Tonight he was much more aggressive and had a much faster approach than usual, which led to a bit of a breakthrough for him."
Lum's new approach allowed him to take eighth in the event with a mark of 1.61 meters. "Once we get the approach down in the high jump, we're going to be able to work on all of the little things," Masters finished.
The long jump was nearly a mirror-image of the high jump, with Hopkins again taking second to Von Hagen with a 6.18 meter jump, with Lum in eighth after jumping 4.64 meters.
The highlight of Lum's night, however, was the 60 meter dash, where he placed second overall in7.43 seconds, with Hopkins in sixth in a time of 7.63 seconds. "Carl had a great night in the 60," said sprints coach David Harmer, "His form has really smoothed out since this time a year ago."
In the shot-put, Hopkins placed fifth with a toss of 9.62 meters, while Lum took eighth with a 7.90 meter throw.
With Hopkins' 2,474 points, he is now in second place heading into the remaining events on Saturday, while Lum follows in eighth with 1,883 points.
"We had a great first day to the first multi of the year," Masters said. "We competed very well, we're just playing to our strengths and working a lot on our weaknesses and because of that, we're going to pick up a lot points."
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