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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Day uses soccer for high-jump advantage

    Arizona double-threat athlete Jasmin Day competes in the high jump for the track and field team in the spring and currently plays for the soccer team. The sophomore leads the team in scoring and had the winning goal against then-No. 3 Texas on Sept. 9.
    Arizona double-threat athlete Jasmin Day competes in the high jump for the track and field team in the spring and currently plays for the soccer team. The sophomore leads the team in scoring and had the winning goal against then-No. 3 Texas on Sept. 9.

    Jasmin Day is an integral component of this year’s Arizona soccer team as well as its leading scorer, thanks to an agreement made last spring.

    When Arizona track and field head coach Fred Harvey was approached about letting one of his best young high jumpers join another set of Wildcats, he had reservations to say the least.

    “”My very first thought was that I didn’t want to see that,”” Harvey said.

    His hesitation lay primarily in the timing of the proposal. Harvey got it just before the track teams’ regional championships in May.

    “”I didn’t want to see her kicked in the knee with a ball, see her shin get kicked, or have her roll an ankle right before she has to high jump at the NCAA regional meet,”” he said. “”So initially, I did not support it at all.””

    However, good friend and soccer head coach Dan Tobias brought Harvey around to the idea, and the two came up with an agreement to allow Day to participate in both sports.

    Tobias allowed Day to have her tryout after the track and field nationals in June. Because her scholarship lies in track and field, she also meets once a week with her high jump coach, Sheldon Blockburger, in addition to completing all of the required lifting for her event throughout the soccer season.

    “”My philosophy has always been regardless of sport, I want the best athletes at the University of Arizona,”” Harvey said, “”and if we can help other programs, that’s the direction we’re going to go.””

    Harvey’s philosophy worked out great for the soccer team, as Tobias said Day impressed him right away at her tryout.

    “”She’s certainly athletic and has really good pace,”” he said. “”One thing that impressed me from the get-go was she had nice soft feet and good skills.

    “”For someone who has been away from the game for a little bit, that was a really good sign.””

    Day’s last time focusing on soccer came back in high school, as she lettered in the sport all four years.

    It did not take Day long to get her soccer legs back.

    Only eight games into the season, Day has become a regular starter in addition to being the Wildcats’ primary attacker on offense.

    She has scored three goals this season, including what turned out to be the game-winning score in the Wildcats’ upset of then-No. 3 Texas on Sept. 9.

    Day said she didn’t pick up soccer against until the end of June, “”but I’ve actually been feeling pretty good out there already.””

    Still, Day’s high-jump goals remain in the back of her mind.

    Day finished last season with an 18th-place finish at nationals and earned all-region honors in field events during June’s NCAA West Region Championships.

    Day’s sights are set on a higher finish at nationals next season.

    “”I didn’t do very well,”” Day said of her performance at nationals.

    Despite the differences in the sports, Day said she believes soccer could make the difference between a top-20 finish and a top-five finish this summer.

    “”I think soccer will make me stronger for my event,”” Day said. “”We do all the conditioning here, too, which is good because we don’t really run a lot for high jump.””

    Harvey echoed Day’s comments, and said he now feels participating in soccer could truly be an integral part of Day’s success in 2008.

    “”I actually think the timing works out great for both teams,”” Harvey said. “”She is going to get great conditioning and great footwork out there playing soccer. Plus, she’s getting competition in the fall at a Division-I level.

    “”I think this will give her a one-up when it comes to track and field in the spring.””

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