Q&A with Track and Field Junior Captain Libby Harmon

Jan. 19, 2007


Recently, junior track and field captain Libby Harmon sat down with the media relations staff to discuss the indoor season. On the eve of the Jayhawk Invitational, Harmon cherishes the opportunity to compete once again after injury wiped out her 2006 season. A captain for the second-straight year and the Anschutz Pavilion record holder in the women’s pole vault, she is determined to make up for lost time and has set goals she and her coach, Tom Hays, hope to accomplish.

Q: How does it feel to participate in a home meet like the Jayhawk Invitational?
A: “I think it is exciting to have a home meet. Track and field is a sport where you do not get the chance to have a lot of home events, like football or basketball. It means a lot to have a home competition, especially with the Kansas Relays as well. It is exciting to compete on your home turf.”

Q: How does it feel to return after missing last season?
A: “It is probably one of the best feelings I have ever had. I tore up my knee last year and that was very devastating. That is a tough injury to come back from and compete. It is the best feeling in the world to be back and healthy this year. I can’t even really describe it.”

Q: What have you learned from Coach Hays?
A: “Coach Hays is one of the best coaches I have ever had. I was lucky enough to have an experienced high school coach, which is something a lot of people do not have in this event. Coach Hays is caring, patient and willing to work with you. He has taught me a lot about how to relax in this sport. Pole vaulting is a very frustrating event. It is very mental and he’s taught me not only technique, but how to relax. I think he has helped me grow mentally as an athlete.”

Q: What does it mean to you to be a team captain?
A: “It is a great feeling. I was a team captain last year as well and that was very unexpected because of my injury. That meant a lot to me because people see how hard I work even when I am not able to because of injury. To be named again makes me feel that people recognize my hard work and that they want me to lead their team again.

Q: As a team captain you are counted on to be a leader, but who is it on the team that you look to for leadership?
A: “I would definitely say our coaching staff, especially Coach Hays. I also look up to our distance runners, especially Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel. They are great role models and very talented. They are very serious, but also positive all the time.”

Q: How do you feel about the freshmen pole vaulters?
A: “I absolutely adore Britany Parker. We have such a good group this year. We all mesh well with our personalities and we all have tremendous talent. We also have Jordan Scott, who was the No. 2 ranked pole vaulter in the nation last year as a high school senior. We are motivated and have a lot of hard workers, especially in my event group.”

Q: What are your goals for the remainder of the indoor season?
A: “This weekend, I would like to jump higher than I did last week in Illinois. So far, I have improved from each meet in my height and I want to keep climbing back up the latter of getting to where I used to jump. That has been going very well. I hope everyone goes out this weekend and really puts on a good show. For the season, I want to place in the top eight at the Big 12 Championships and hopefully make it to nationals.”

Q: What is your favorite event to watch, other than pole vault?
A: “I would have to say the 4×400 meter relay because it is such a good race. It is usually the last race of the meet and everyone is very pumped up for it. It is always a good race because you never know who is going to win, so it is very exciting.”

Q: What event, other than pole vaulting, would you like to try?
A: “To be honest, I am not a big fan of running. We have to run every day in practice, but we pole vaulters always joke that the days the runners are doing time trials, it is good to be a pole vaulter. I guess I would like to be a thrower, either the shot put or the weight throw, though I have never tried.”

Q: What would you like to do when your days competing at KU are over?
A: “I am going to go to law school after I graduate and I would like to get into the sports agency business. Not quite as intense as Jerry Maguire, but along those lines.”

Q: What would you say to your fellow students about why they need to come out and support KU track and field?
“KU track and field has one of the longest traditions in track in the country. It runs very deep, like basketball, and the students should be fans of track and field. Hopefully, we’ll give them something to cheer about this year.”