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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 82 'OK, I can do that and I'm not fouling, then I can get to the next part of my jump.' Maturity and confidence have made the biggest difference and so now she goes to a competition — and even as early last year, she would see who else was in the meet and kind of get in her own head (with self-doubt) — she handles it so well. She doesn't get nervous and start over-do- ing it. She stays within herself and jumps and believes in what we're teaching her and herself." Carson was a great jumper at Neuqua Valley High School in the Chicago suburbs, hitting high 19- to low 20-feet as a senior, but she did so basically on athletic ability alone. She got technical training — and mentorship — from her club coach, Tom Boatright of the Aurora Flyers, but not much else. And even that wasn't the same as what she could, and now is, receiving at Purdue. And that has changed her. Now, Carson is starting to believe in her abilities, rather than focusing on negatives. It's been a personal battle over the years. "I'm really hard on myself, so sometimes, there can be a hun- dred good things, but I'll pick out that one mistake or one bad thing and it will just go downward," she said. "But I defi- nitely think I've gotten better at that and I've been more positive toward track. I get frustrated if I'm not doing as well as I should be doing, which I think if you're passionate about the sport — if you ask any athlete — if they're not doing as well as they think, they'd be frustrated as well. It's not uncommon." A hamstring injury during her freshman season was a hindrance, forcing Carson to miss the Big Ten Champi- onships to finish the indoor season, then the entirety of the outdoor. But that'll leave the fourth-year junior with another outdoor season, in 2018, although she's already completed her indoor eligibility. Over the next couple outdoor seasons, Carson should be able to push her jumps even farther. It was only in the Texas Relays at the end of March that she expanded her approach by 10 more feet, allowing her to increase speed before launch. That's a delicate balance, want- ing distance to build up speed but needing it to be controlled at the board. She's bettered her launches, and can do the same with her landings. Ideally, she'd hit the sand then fall off to the side, preventing herself from rocking back slightly and lessening the jump distance. But Carson is working on it, the same as she has other tech- niques. "I definitely try," she said. "But my try doesn't always look the way I think it's going to look in my head. And sometimes it even looks worse when I look at it on film, but I definitely try. I see girls who can swing to the side; I've tried it before but need more practice. It's not there yet, not even close." But Carson, at least as of mid-April, hadn't hit her goal for the 2016-17 season yet — she actually wrote a distance down this year — wanting 6.78 meters (or 22 feet, 3 inch- es), a mark that would set the Big Ten record. "I'd like to see her win a national championship," El- liott said. "It's in her sights and certainly in her ability." j "Some people are really gifted. She has a lot of natural spring and speed, so we knew she could jump." Assistant coach Angela Elliott on Savannah Carson

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