Preparing for Takeoff: Rutgers All-American Long Jumper Corey Crawford
It is not often that a track and field athlete ranked in the top ten in the world is in college. It is even rarer to find one walking the campuses of New Brunswick and Livingston at Rutgers University. The Scarlet Knights’ Corey Crawford had a 2013-2014 indoor track and field season for the ages that culminated with All-American status and a personal best jump of 26’11 ¾” that ranked him sixth in the world for the 2013-2014 indoor season.
The highlights were many: a silver medal at the NCAA Indoor Championship, a win in the long jump at the American Athletic Conference Championship, the AAC athlete of the meet award, and the title of Mid-Atlantic Field Athlete of the Year as named by the NCAA. While Crawford is proud of all of these accomplishments the picture of the Rutgers athlete meeting the great Olympian Carl Lewis is one that got the Rutgers faithful buzzing.
“That was awesome,” recalls Crawford. “Carl Lewis in my eyes is the greatest Olympic athlete ever. To get my picture taken with a man who dominated the long jump for more than ten years is crazy… [Lewis] was asking me about the changes I made this year from last year. It was awesome to see that he was interested in how I improved so much in just one year.”
While Crawford may have made the improvements from last year to this year look easy, he attributes much of his success to working on details. Crawford said a dedication to the weight room in the off-season played a major role.
“I gained about ten pounds of muscle,” he said as he spent more time working on his approach and his penultimate step. “I became very consistent with my approach and my last two steps before take-off.”
Rutgers’ newest All-American was not always a track athlete. In fact he is somewhat of a novice as he didn’t start competing in track and field until his junior year in high school at Indian Hills (NJ). Recalling his high school days he said, “I played baseball and soccer. I always had great speed and could dunk a basketball. So I decided to try long jump, and it turned out to be a very good decision. [Now] I love the head to head competition [in track and field], and the fact that track is a numbers based sport, kind of reminds me of baseball.”
The online following and support from the Rutgers new twitter moniker #CHOPNation was not lost on Crawford either.
Crawford said, “I loved the hashtag. It was really cool to see that people actually followed me and made me realize I have a lot of supporters on my side! #CHOPNation!”
He continued by addressing the pride he has competing for Rutgers.
“I choose Rutgers in hopes to one day give us more recognition as a top tier program,” Crawford said. “I wanted to stay in state because I hate when talent in New Jersey leaves to go to Florida or somewhere else. Staying in state is showing the kids of tomorrow look if I can do it here so can you.”
Crawford closed by sharing an optimistic message. “Rutgers will one day be a national contending school in a lot of sports especially [in track and field] with our new [jumps] coach Robert Farrell,” he continued. “We have a great throw squad and our sprint team is going to be healthy. Watch out for multiple people to be wearing that block R on their chest at outdoor nationals [this spring] in Oregon.”
Follow Sal Soothsayer on Twitter for more Rutgers news, @SalSoothsayer.
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