Hannah Bush participates in the high jump during the Ohio Cherry Blossom Invitational on April 1. (FILE)
Tajah Smith and Olivia Mayfield know this weekend is an opportunity to relax before Ohio’s schedule picks up again.
In a week and a half, the Bobcats will travel to Columbus to compete in the Jesse Owens Classic. But to have a good showing at the Jesse Owens Classic, Ohio must rest for a moment.
Ohio will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, this weekend to compete in the Charlotte Invitational at UNC Charlotte. The meet isn’t as prestigious as the Jesse Owens Classic, which is why Smith and Mayfield will be among several athletes who will not compete.
Smith and Mayfield won’t be resting for rest’s sake, either — they genuinely need the time off. Smith hurt her hamstring last weekend, and Mayfield sprained hers at the Ohio Cherry Blossom Invitational. Smith will travel with the team to Charlotte, but Mayfield will not.
“This weekend will be the perfect time for some rest because coming back is (the Jesse Owens Classic), which is very competitive,” Mayfield said.
The rest initiative is coach Clay Calkins’ idea. Calkins acknowledged that Mayfield, who competes in the long jump along with running events, needed some time off from the long jump, which can be a grueling event.
“Long jump is like two events in one because you have (preliminaries), then you have finals,” Mayfield said.
Calkins also noticed at last weekend’s Hilltopper Relays that some of the sprinters in the short sprints had lower times, perhaps because of a need to rest. Along with the sprinters, he is also holding out some of the typical distance runners as well.
Despite some athletes not participating, Calkins’ team has depth.
Tajah Haley will take an open spot in the 4×100 meter relay, and Kristin Winkel, who had a lifetime personal record in the 100-meter at the Hilltopper Relays, will fill one too. Winkel has ran the relay before, so that provides security for the Bobcats.
The weekend’s meet is the type of meet the Bobcats prefer. Only about eight to 10 teams will compete, which puts less pressure on the athletes.
Though some athletes who usually lead Ohio will be out, the Bobcats’ depth has a chance to overshadow that.
“It’s not as much pressure, so I think people will go in, do their thing,” Smith said.