When Connor Turnage matriculates to the University of Nebraska this fall, it will be a case of returning home. Photo by Jeff McCoy.
Connor Turnage's best marks:
100 meters - 11.60
Long jump - 22-9.25
Triple jump - 49-0.5
The University of Nebraska makes it a point to have a well-rounded track and field program that performs well across the entire range of events. It has to be kind of exciting to be entering a program like that. How did you settle on the University of Nebraska?
Well, I grew up in Lincoln, my parents went there, and my mom ran track there. It always has been, as always will be, home. I've been a Cornhuskers fan my entire life. It really is a dream come true. The facilities, the coaches, the people, and the amount others care for you outside your performances on the track was also a big draw.
And, what you will be studying there?
Right now, I'm admitted to the business school, but I have become really interested in Nutrition and Exercise Science in the past few months. I want to be a track coach after school.
Do you give equal time and attention to both of your jumps, or does one tend to get more focus than the other?
Every Tuesday is a long jump day, and every Thursday is a triple jump day. I definitely like triple more than long, but not by much.
You've been Colorado's leading triple jumper for about a year now and you make it look pretty easy, but what's the most difficult part of the jump to execute correctly? What should those of us who are happy just to stand on the side be watching so that we're more educated fans of the jump?
There's always something to work on, even on my best jumps. That's the most exciting part of triple, it's far and away the most technical event in track and field. So many moving parts. The hardest part for me is probably just staying focused and under control mentally.
I think educated is the wrong word; as a fan there isn't much to do but sit back and admire the beauty of the event. Enjoy the drama it has to offer.
Do you have any particular goals that are driving you forward for your final season of high school?
Obviously, the state record is the biggest one. It's the longest standing one by far, set back in '74, I think. I'd also like to win the Gatorade POY again. To be looped in with all the people who have won that award is an honor.
What's been your most memorable athletic moment to date?
It's gotta be last year's Liberty Bell. I ended up winning by an inch on my last jump. Very exciting moment and a huge win for me over a great competitor.
The state triple jump record Connor referenced still belong to Harrison's Victor White after all these years. It stands at 51-0.25, just under two feet ahead of Turnage's best legal jump to date. That's just far enough out there to make it a legitimate reach, but just close enough to make it interesting. I like it when my own athletes set goals like that.
And, it's always easy to find the pits at a track meet, so take some time this spring to enjoy the drama of the triple jump, But, darn it, I'm still trying to educate myself about that event! Actually, taking pictures of the triple jump is a great way to gain an appreciation for the kind of balance--and constant recallibration on that scale--the event requires.