In track and field, conventional wisdom holds that specialization optimizes results. For the most part, runners run, sprinters sprint, jumpers jump and throwers throw.
But Noel Jancewicz was never one for conventional wisdom.
Over the course of just a few short months, the freshman multi-event athlete has proven herself to be another key contributor in Penn’s outstanding freshman class and the program’s most versatile competitor.
Jancewicz began her high school career as a sprinter, but it didn’t take long for her to branch out into unfamiliar territory.
She did so with remarkable success, excelling in the 400-meter , 100m and even the high jump. By her junior year, she was able to put two and two together and make the leap to multi-event competition.
She competed in the heptathlon towards the end of her junior year, and she didn’t look back.
“I guess that’s when I realized that I could compete [in multi-events] at a collegiate level,” Jancewicz said of her experience in the heptathlon.
She ended her high school career as an All-American in the grueling event and decided to go to Penn to focus on multi-event competition.
“By then, colleges were pretty much focused on me as a multi-event athlete,” Jancewicz said. “But the Penn visit really stood out.”
Since making it to campus, she has been able to fit right in with the rest of Penn’s youth-heavy women’s squad, headlining the women’s freshman class alongside athletes like Cleo Whiting and Ashley Montgomery .
As one might expect, though, the transition to college athletics has not been without challenges, especially on the competitive side of the spectrum.
“Obviously, the competition in college is tougher,” Jancewicz said. “I actually prefer multi-events because I have to do so much running around from event to event [in single-event competition].”
Multi-event coach Joe Klim has explained that Jancewicz’s relative inexperience with some facets of multi-event competition has contributed to some of the challenges of this transition.
“She’s a natural runner ... but she’s basically a novice in the shot put,” he said.
Jancewicz has also faced challenges unique to multi-event athletes, including a difficult training schedule and a shortage of multi-event teammates.
“We definitely have longer practices, and we start before the other athletes,” Jancewicz said.
“I think my schedule has a lot to do with [her scheduling difficulties],” Klim added.
However, despite the challenges she has faced, Jancewicz has achieved a large degree of success in the first stage of her collegiate career, accruing numerous top-three finishes in individual and multi-event competition.
Klim largely accredits her success to her unique athletic ability and general approach in multi-event competition. He explained that Jancewicz’s exceptional cardiovascular fitness allows her to stay in top form throughout a meet while other athletes get tired.
Jancewicz may be only a freshman, but that hasn’t stopped Klim from setting her goals high, even in her rookie outdoor season.
“The ultimate goal is to win the pentathlon at Heps,” Klim said. “She has the talent to do it.”
As always, this type of goal cannot be achieved overnight, but rather in small incremental steps, one meet at a time.
This next step will come this weekend at Princeton’s Sam Howell Invitational. The meet will give the men’s and women’s teams a chance to follow up their strong performances at the Raleigh Relays.
And it will give a chance for a versatile freshman sensation to once again keep conventional wisdom at bay.Comments powered by Disqus
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