Boamah-Acheampong earned a return trip to the Division III Track and Field National Championships, held in Claremont, Calif. May 25. She was looking to add a second All-America honor to her resume, but the junior fell short of that goal.
Boamah-Acheampong earned All-America honors a year ago when she set a then-school record of 5 feet, 5.75 inches at the Division III National championships at Ohio Wesleyan University, which earned her a share of eighth place. She broke that mark this season when she won the All-Ohio Championships with a leap of 5-6, and it would have taken a similar effort to repeat as All-America this season.
National champion Elizabeth Evans, of Rose-Hulman, was one of three women to clear 5-8, with Evans getting the gold medal on the basis of misses. Two others in the 22-woman field cleared 5-7, with five getting over 5-5.75 to round out the top 10. Another four made it over 5-4.25 while Boamah-Acheampong – who was clean over the first two heights - was one of six to clear 5-2.50.
“Overall, she had an excellent season,” said Scot track and field coach Dennis Rice. “She set a new school record and she was the All-Ohio and conference champion, which were two of the goals we strived for during the season. Obviously she was striving to get to the National championships and got there, so she accomplished three of her goals.
“With the high jump, if you’re even a little off, you’re going to struggle a bit. We found at the end of the season, once we got past the conference meet and went to Chicago, she was a little off in her approach. That created some havoc with the jump itself, but overall, she was pleased with accomplishing her goals of winning All-Ohio and conference.
“She was frustrated with her National performance because the tempo wasn’t there on that given day to compete at a high level. She wasn’t clicking with her approach and that affected her overall jump and she didn’t get the results she wanted.”
Boamah-Acheampong was hardly the only one who faced that, noted Rice.
“What happens at the National meet is you have 22 jumpers who are all very good and all jump between the 5-6 and 5-10 range. If you get a person or two who is off that day, they have no chance. I think if she had been able to get that height (5-2.50), she would have been all right. It’s a mental thing. Once you have two misses in a row at a height, you start thinking instead of reacting and that’s what happened. She cleared the first two heights with no issues.
“The same thing happened at North Central (College, outside Chicago) the week before. Warming up, everything was great, the first two heights were great and then we went up to 5-4.5, which is not high for her. The uneasy feeling she had at that height, for whatever reason, she struggled. On that (National) stage, your confidence has to be at the high end of the spectrum.
“There was one 5-8 high jumper (at Nationals) and she did not clear 5-1. You see weird things happen – an athlete starts to press and then they start to lose the confidence they need to be successful. You lose confidence and tempo and revert back to bad habits and once that gets going, it’s like a golfer and their golf swing.”
Rice, though, preferred not to focus on that final day.
“On a positive side, she accomplished quite a bit this season,” he said. “I told her, as a senior, you have the opportunity to be National champion, if she decides to go for it and be that kind of student-athlete. She’s capable of jumping between 5-8 and 5-10. It’s just small stuff… that allows you to compete at a high level.
“She was frustrated with how she ended up jumping, but it was a great experience going out to California and the Los Angeles area. It was an opportunity to get to travel and it was an experience she would not have had if not for the opportunity (to compete at the National championships).”
Published: June 6, 2012