By: Meghan McNichol – Staff Writer
Dayton Flyers high jumper Rebecca Maj finished her senior indoor season with a bang at the Atlantic 10 Championship hosted by the University of Rhode Island Feb. 22.
Clearing a 5-foot-8 bar, Maj earned first place in the championship. Not only is this mark a career best for Maj, but it is also the second best in the history of the University of Dayton.
Head coach Jason Francis describes Maj as a “unique story,” because she was recruited to be a hurdler for the Flyers as a first-year in 2011.
During her freshman year, Maj ran a personal best in both the 60-meter and the 100-meter hurdles. She placed eighth in the 2012 A-10 championships and finished the season seventh overall with a time of 9.02 in the 60.
Despite her successes, Francis decided to enter Maj into a heptathlon group. A heptathlon is a combined events contest made up of seven events.
She began training for high jump, shot put, the 200-meter hurdles, long jump, javelin, and the 800-meter in addition to the 100-meter hurdles.
“Learning how to compete in all seven events of the heptathlon was a big accomplishment for me,” Maj said.
Maj took fourth place in the heptathlon as both a sophomore and a junior, but decided it was best to focus primarily on high jump her senior season after setting a new school record during the outdoors A-10 championship her junior year with a height of 1.72 meters.
Although this is her first season focusing on high jump, she has already met the first of Francis’ expectations.
“We had the goal for her to win the conference meet and she gave me a few stressful moments when we were sitting in third and needed to clear the next bar to secure the win but she’s a competitor, got after it, and came through for us,” Francis said.
Despite her initial intentions to hurdle for the Flyers, Rebecca feels high jump is a better fit for her.
“I was a gymnast for a long time so it’s kind of the special awareness and then doing the heptathlon you have to do high jump, but then it just ended up clicking and became my favorite event,” she said.
This year Maj kicked off the season taking second place at with Buckeye Classic with a height of 1.60 meters. Throughout the season, she remained consistent with heights ranging between 1.60 and 1.65 meters, taking home first in the Tom Wright Open, and then again in the A-10 championship.
“Back when I was a freshman I would have never expected this but this season it went pretty well so I was pretty confident I would do well. It was just really nice to end up where I did,” Maj said.
Maj is currently looking to qualify for the first round of the NCAA national meet down in Jacksonville, Florida, May 28.
Between the NCAA east preliminary rounds and the upcoming spring season, Maj has continued training and setting goals for herself.
Her recent success in the indoor season has left Maj excited for what is to come in the spring.
Both she and Francis are looking forward to another first place finish.
“I have the same expectations for her come this spring,” Francis said, “Going into it we were trying to bring home two conference titles indoors and outdoors, so were halfway there, now we just have to get the second one.”