March 8, 2011
CalBears.com sat down with sophomore Hammed Suleman to get some of his thoughts on qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the triple jump. Suleman has leaped at least 50 feet in all of his meets this season and set a PR to win the triple jump title at the MPSF Championships Feb. 26 with an effort of 52-10.75 - longest for a Golden Bear since 1995.
As a freshman in 2010, Suleman led the Bears in both the long jump (24-8.50) and triple jump (49-9.25), and finished third in the long jump and seventh in the triple jump at the outdoor Pac-10 meet. He hails from nearby Antioch and graduated from Deer Valley High School. He was the 2009 state champion in the triple jump and was named the East Bay Boys' Track & Field Athlete of the Year by the Contra Costa Times.
CalBears.com: What does it mean to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships?
Hammed Suleman: It's been in my head since my freshman year. Coming in, I would see some of the big jumpers like Will Clay and Christian Taylor. And I know they went to nationals their freshman year. I didn't quite make it. So this year, I had so much energy and so much drive to get there. And it happened.
CB: You came out strong this season. Did you do anything different to prepare for the year?
HS: I'm pumped up and there have been some different things in training. My freshman year, I was kind of scared to give 100 percent going down the runway, too scared to foul. So this year, I thought I have nothing to lose. Let's attack. Ever since I've been attacking, my jumps have been getting better and better.
CB: How much better do you think you can get?
HS: They're going to keep going. I think this is the beginning of a phase. I'm kind of looking forward to some records. But I don't want to just attack records; I want to keep myself going at a good pace. And then if the records come, they'll come.
CB: Do you have any expectations for NCAA's this weekend?
HS: I kind have an idea. The intensity level is going to be a whole lot higher because I've seen this year has been a big year for jumping. Guys are already going 56 feet, 55 feet. I'm just going to try to keep my nerves, plan everything out I do in a regular meet, just bring the best out and give 110 percent, and just listen to my coach.
CB: Which is your favorite - triple jump or long jump?
HS: Triple jump. My freshman year, I liked long jump better, even though I won the state meet (in the triple jump) my senior year (at Deer Valley HS). But now, I'm coming back to my triple jump.
CB: Why do you like the triple jump better?
HS: For the long jump, you have to have a tremendous amount of speed. My speed isn't there yet, but it will be. In the triple jump, I think I have an advantage with my long legs and my strength. If one of my phases isn't as long, I can make up in the next phase. I feel like that's an advantage.
CB: Is it difficult having to train outdoors for the indoor season?
HS: There's a slight difference. I have to change my mark about two feet knowing that our facility here is a little slower than the indoor facilities. But rain or shine, I'm out here. It's the only way to get it done.
CB: Are you a fan of the indoor season?
HS: I like the indoor season. I like how everything is compact and everyone's together. You can't look up in the sky. You have to look at the performances going on. I like to get the crowd involved. It gets my adrenaline going.
CB: What should fans expect from you outdoors this spring?
HS: Big goals for outdoor. Big goals. I like the heat. I like jumping in hot weather. I think that will be a big advantage. I feel like my muscles are real warm and I run faster. I feel like I do best outdoors.