Junior to represent VMI in the high jumpLEXINGTON, Va.>B? – Junior Garrett Brickner (Fairfax Station, Va./Lake Braddock) of The Virginia Military Institute has qualified in the high jump for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship meet. The meet will take place in Sacramento, Calif. beginning on Wednesday June 8 and run through Saturday June 11. It will be held at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento with Sacramento State and The Sacramento Sports Commission serving as hosts.
"Getting a chance to go to nationals has been a goal of mine ever since I started jumping," said Brickner, who is making his first trip to nationals. "It's an honor to go and represent VMI at nationals."
The preliminaries of the high jump will be at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. Should Brickner meet the qualifying performance in the preliminaries (which is to be determined at the meet), he will advance to the finals of the high jump where the national champion will be determined. The finals are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.
Brickner advanced to the national meet by finishing in second place in the high jump at the NCAA East Regional Championships at Randall's Island in New York, N.Y. on May 27 with a mark of 7' 1". The top five finishers advanced to the NCAA Championship meet. It was the second straight meet and the third one in the last four that Brickner has competed in that he cleared at least 7' in the high jump. One of those was a lifetime best performance of 7' 1-3/4" which was a winning mark at the IC4A Championships on May 15 in Princeton, N.J.
This recent success has helped prepare Brickner for the national meet. With that in mind, he says he won't change how he approaches the NCAA Championships; not mentally nor physically.
"The focus right now is just on jumping high," Brickner said. "I think I am going into this meet just as well prepared as I have the other meets (this season). Things are pretty much routine at this point in time."
As the preliminaries draw closer, Brickner says that he will prepare mentally by getting into a positive frame of mind. He says that he does that by visualizing good things happening which in the case of the high jump is making it over the bar. That is the mental side of it. As for the physical side, Brickner believes that should take care of itself as he is healthy.
"You don't want to overdo it and drive yourself crazy thinking about it," Brickner said. "I'm jumping well at the right time now. Focusing just on the high jump the past couple of weeks has helped out a lot."
That should bode well for Brickner psychologically as he approaches the meet.
"Everybody tries to peak at the right time," VMI coach Mike Bozeman said. "He's ended up doing it quite well. The success that he's had will be a big plus for him mentally," Bozeman added. "He knows that he can jump with these people. Seven feet is no longer a barrier to him."
Brickner has won the high jump at three different meets this outdoor season with marks of 6' 11", 6' 9", and 7' 1-3/4". At the Big South Conference Championship Meet on May 15, Brickner cleared 7' ¼" in the high jump of the decathlon. That helped him win the decathlon with 6,510 points which set a new championship meet record. Brickner also won the high jump at the conference meet by clearing 6' 9" and was named the Big South Outstanding Field Performer-of-the-Meet.
"He's been in some big meets," Bozeman said. "I think he'll handle this like he has the rest of them."