Paul ’18.5 leads Bears at Ivy Heptagonal Championships

Junior places second in high jump, fourth in pentathlon, collects 11 team points

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, March 2, 2017

After a semester off from Brown to travel and volunteer, Carly Paul ’18.5 has returned to track and field with a vengeance.

Paul reintroduced herself to the Ivy League at the conference’s Heptagonal Championships in New York last weekend, at the end of the team’s indoor competition. Paul posted two standout performances in the high jump and pentathlon, placing second and fourth, respectively. After earning a total of 3,618 points in the pentathlon Friday — which consists of the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and an 800-meter run  — Paul cleared a height of 5-08.00 the following day to take second place in the individual high jump event. Her scores contributed a total of 11 team points to Brown’s total — seven for the high jump and four for the pentathlon.

In 2016, she placed eighth in the heptathlon with a total of 4,712 points at the Ivy League Championship and earned runner-up in the javelin throw and third in the high jump at the Brown Springtime Open. She will return to competition Mar. 24-25 at the North Carolina State Raleigh Relays.

For her significant point contributions in the high jump and pentathlon at Heps last weekend, Paul is The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: What were your expectations going into Heps?

Paul: I actually just came back from a semester off from Brown — I took a semester off instead of going abroad just to travel and volunteer, and so I’ve only been training for a couple of months. My coach and I went into it with a very “what do we have to lose” mindset, and it ended up going really, really well.

How did your events feel? Did you think that you were on track to place so highly?

The pentathlon is a very different thing from other events because you just have to do all-around okay. I knew that throughout the day I had a really strong start in hurdles, and so that gave me a good rhythm for the whole day. I knew that if I did fairly well in all my events, I should end up on the podium in the pentathlon. (For the high jump), I knew my body would be tired the next day, but I went in ranked second, so I knew there was potential for me to get on the podium. But it was only my third time high-jumping this season. In high jump, there’s less room for error, whereas in the pentathlon, one thing can go okay and the other things can make up for it, so I knew that I could do enough in every event.

How do you prepare yourself mentally for a meet?

I used to be more of a superstitious person where I had a very big routine — I would always have the same dinner, have the same breakfast kind of thing, but I tore my ACL when I was a freshman. I had knee surgery and coming back from that I just decided to not make any superstitions, so I just kind of tried to make sure I eat well, make sure I get enough sleep. I don’t really have any silly routines anymore because I think that it can be a barrier, like an excuse.

You compete regularly in all of the pentathlon events. Do you have a favorite?

Hurdles and high jump are my favorite events. Hurdles is just fun, and high jump is kind of my baby — it’s always been my main event, so I have a very big love-hate relationship with it. I know it so well that it can be the most frustrating to me but it’s also, at the end of the day, my favorite. The 800 is my favorite and biggest challenge  — whenever I have success in the 800, it has a lot more gravity than other events because it’s definitely the one I’m learning the most. So whenever I have success in that or an improvement, it’s the most gratifying.

When did you initially get into the sport?

I started doing track in junior high because my mom high-jumped in high school, and because of that, my brother high-jumped in junior high, and because he did it I was like, “I’m going to do it, too!”

What’s your go-to meet day breakfast?

If I’m just doing a couple of events, like hurdles and high jump at a normal meet, I try to eat a really big hearty breakfast sandwich — like a bagel with eggs, spinach, sausage and cheese on it. If I’m doing a pentathlon, I basically just try to eat as much as I can possibly eat. So I’ll eat eggs, sausage and toast, and also some yogurt and granola, because you can eat during the pentathlon, but it’s hard. You just have to kind of force yourself to eat, so I try to eat a bunch beforehand.

Looking ahead, what are your aims for the upcoming meets?

As a team as a whole, we have the potential to do really, really well. I think by outdoor, people will have things sorted out more and I think (where) we’ll have a lot more potential is scoring higher as a team. Personally, I’d love to PR in all my events, that’s what you always say. I’d really love to PR in the heptathlon and I’m really looking forward to working on javelin again. Last year was my first season, so I was just trying to figure it out. Now, I think that I have some basics, (so) it will be fun to work on it more.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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