Hayden Snow has one of the top long jump marks in the country, regardless of division.
"Going into that day, my coach wanted me take a maximum of three jumps because of other events I was competing in. So, during prelims I knew I had to make the most of it because if my jump was far enough, I was not going to jump in the finals. So, as warm-ups and run-throughs began, my coach (Jake Alexander) told me that he thought I looked really good and I told him that I felt very fast and that I was getting good pop off the board. Going into the first jump I felt very confident because of how warm-ups went, and the first jump was a 7.45 meter effort so I had a feeling the next two jumps would be pretty solid. Going into the second jump, which was the 7.65 (25-1.25), Jake had told me that I left a huge chunk of distance on the first jump because of some foot drag so I made sure I fixed that on my second jump. Sure enough, I jumped, felt pretty good after the land, did not see any foot drag and heard the official call out 7.65. I was pumped up, filled with adrenaline, walked through a line of high-fives from my teammates and then got ready for my third jump. The third jump was a 7.54 which I was a little upset about since I did not go farther, but I told Jake I was happy that I could be mad about a 7.54!"
The D3 National Championships are coming up this weekend - what are your expectations for the big meet? Do you feel like you've got a good shot at bringing home a national title to John Carroll?
"My goal for this meet is to walk away with a national championship in long jump. It's a great field of jumpers so the goal will not be an easy one to accomplish, but I am hoping I can perform at my best and come home with a title. Every jumper at this meet has a good shot at earning the win. We are all here because of the success we've had during the indoor season and at the national championship meet, it is the best of the best. I am very excited to compete and the goal is come out on top as a national champion."
What would a national title (or even a great showing) at nationals mean to you?
"A national title or a strong showing would mean everything to me. Being able to see results that demonstrate the hard work that has been done leading up to this point is one of the biggest things to me and hopefully the hard work shows on Friday."
Talk about the preparation you've been doing in lead-up to nationals and what you think it'll take (both physically and mentally) to perform at your best on meet day.
"Practicing sprints and jumps, lifting, recovery and rest plus eating well all add up together for the preparation I have done leading into nationals. To perform at my best on meet day will require me to approach it like any other meet. Taking care of my body is the biggest aspect physically and being able to handle the pressure, noise, people and the overall scene of the national championship will be the biggest things for me to deal with mentally."
After doing some research, your 25-1.25 mark matches up very well to the top results in D1 and D2. In D2, it would rank in a tie for third and in D1 it would rank in the top 35. Do you feel like your performances help support the notion that elite level track and field takes place in D3, as well?
"Division 3 track and field is filled with elite performers in every event. There have been several athletes who have made it to the next level after competing in D3. I can promise anyone, come to a D3 conference championship or national championship meet and you will be entertained and see incredible talent and competition."
Hayden Snow hopes to land a long jump national title this weekend in Boston.
In terms of your strategy and technique, what do you feel like you do best? Conversely, what aspects of your game need work?
"When it comes to the long jump, I would say the best aspects of my game are my speed and my takeoff. I always feel pretty good coming down the runway and popping off the board. My landing could use some work along with my in-air flight, but I know Jake (my coach) knows what to do in order for me to improve on those aspects, so I'm in good hands."
Beyond nationals, what goals to you have for the outdoor season as well as for the rest of your college career?
"We have some pretty immense goals for the outdoor season. We are really hoping to send many athletes to the national championship meet in May. As for the rest of my career, I just want to keep improving in all of my events. From sprinting to jumping, if I continue to improve in everything, there are some exciting things that have the possibility of happening and I am super excited to see the process unfold."
Due to being recognized as a top D3 athlete, your insight would be valuable to high school seniors who are preparing to embark on their own college careers. What advice would you give them that might help with their transition to competing at the next level?
"Division does not matter. Regardless of what division you are competing in there are still eight lanes, a finish line, sand pits, high jump bars, throwing rings, etc. Also, make sure to go to a place where you feel like you will be valued and to a place where you feel like they are going to care about you as athlete and as a person. Walking into a school for a visit and feeling as if you are at home is a very good sign. Go to a school where you feel like you will make a positive impact on the program, but also make sure that you feel like the program will make a positive impact on you, as well."