Second-year running back Patrick Pierre has decided to put a little jump into his off-season.
Pierre has returned to track and field to compete in long jump events and his first meet was the University of Guelph’s Zoltan Tenke Classic at the Gryphon Field House.
“I haven’t jumped in a year because I spent my freshman year playing football and then in the off-season I worked out,” Pierre said after recording a leap of 6.51 metres. “This was great.”
Pierre, participating as an unattached competitor, finished sixth in a field of 16 in the first meet of the Canadian university indoor track and field season.
“My body feels a little beaten up,” he said. “It’s a different beaten up than football, but I felt good. I’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I hope I have a good off-season jumping with the track team and doing a lot of personal bests this off-season.”
Pierre made the decision to return to jumping during the football off-season in order to refresh his competitive spirit, although he first wanted to make sure his football season went OK.
“It depended on how my football season was going,” he said. “It went pretty good, but it could’ve gone a lot better I must say. I have a lot of things I need to work on football wise.”
Doing the jumping would also allow him to do something a little different in the off-season as training, practising and playing football all year long can become too much of a routine.
“I felt like I was losing my sense of fun and whenever I was running track, I was the happiest guy. I needed something different this off-season and I felt like it was best for me to just come jump with the track team because I’ve been doing track way longer than I’ve been doing football. I just felt like I needed to get back into my rhythm and doing things because I love it and I love track just like I love football.”
And his return to jumping was encouraging.
“I made the finals. There were a lot of good jumpers here and some good competition,” he said. “It was great to see how I stand. Not jumping for a year and I’m still able to jump with them for the most part until near the end when I got tired and I couldn’t jump any more.”
And his performance was encouraging.
“I love the competition. I was a bit nervous at first seeing all those guys because I haven’t jumped in a year, but after the first jump I jumped further than I jumped in high school,” Pierre said. “My personal best is 6.6. I didn’t touch that today, but I was close.
“That was me only training for three days so I feel like I have a lot of potential and as long as I keep it going and keep working hard Guyson (Kuruneri), the jumps coach, he’ll get me right.”
While jumping can keep Pierre’s competitive juices flowing during the off-season, he doesn’t have to look around for a defensive lineman or linebacker looking to hit him.
“I have nobody that’s trying to kill me or take my head off when I’m on the track so I’m a little bit more calm and I’m not as nervous as I would be throughout a game or something like that,” he said. “I feel that competition brings out the best in me. I’m competing with great jumpers, even in practice.”
Pierre will continue with the off-season workouts with the football team as the Gryphons didn’t like how the 2017 season ended with the loss to the Western Mustangs in the OUA semifinals. They’re using that loss as motivation for 2018.
“It’s very motivating,” Pierre said. “In the off-season, we’re going to go hard. Everyone’s going to go hard. This upcoming season is going to be big and I feel we’re going to go further. The year before we lost in the quarter-finals and this year it’s the semis. You know what that means? Next year it’s definitely going to be the Yates. It’s got to be the Yates, but this time we’ll finish with a win.”
Pierre also found the loss to Western to be personally motivating as he didn’t get a carry in that game.
“That’s just how it was,” he said. “There’s things I need to work on and that just motivates me and makes me want to do better in the off-season, to be honest.”