Oct. 11, 2007
Summer vacation is a time for relaxation and recuperation for most college students. Jarrin Solomon is not your typical college student. A senior from Albuquerque La Cueva High School with international ties, Solomon crossed the pond and competed at World Track and Field Championships this summer in Osaka, Japan. Under the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, Solomon carried the baton on the nation's 4x400-meter relay team.
As the son of a native born citizen Solomon has dual citizenship, which allows him to compete for Trinidad and Tobago or the United States. Solomon's father Mike is a native of Trinidad and Tobago as well as a former Olympian for his home country. The elder Solomon also happens to be a former Lobo All-American who won a national title in the indoor 660-yard dash in 1977.
Along the journey to the World Championships Jarrin Solomon also competed at the Pan American games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the Trinidad and Tobago National Championships.
"It was long, but it was pretty exciting actually." Solomon said. "I went a lot of places - El Salvador, Brazil, I had to go to Trinidad anyway to run nationals then Japan - so it was long and eventful."
A little "R and R" was not in cards for Solomon. After capturing the gold in the 400 at the Mountain West Championships (May 13) through his last race in Osaka (Sept. 1), the sprinter worked on his game the entire time.
"After I won conference I came back and trained for ten days," he said. "Then after I made regionals and nationals I came back and trained for ten days. The day that I didn't make it to the semis (at the NCAA Championships) I started working out again in Sacramento."
From there it was on to the Trinidad and Tobago national meet in late June, where he placed third behind World Junior champ Renny Quow.
"After I got back from Trinidad I came home and trained for another two weeks," Solomon said using his hands to help him remember his course. "Then I flew to El Salvador for five days, ran there, and then flew back to Miami for a night, and then flew to Brazil for Pan Ams."
His travels continued. After the Pan American Games Solomon flew back for a couple of weeks and took a week off to let his legs rest a little. Then it was off to Japan for another two weeks.
At the conclusion of his travels from May 13 through Sept. 1, Solomon had traveled 43,073 miles and competed in 17 400 races.
In addition to the travel experience Solomon had the opportunity to train with and compete against the world's elite quarter-milers in Osaka.
"All the pros were there and training went really well there," he said. "It was probably the best workouts I had all season."
While taken back at first by the level of competition, Solomon said he was not about to back down from the challenge.
"At first you see all the pro guys and they kind of intimidate you, but after a few days you get used to it," he said.
Once the intimidation passed the only thing left to get over was the magnitude of the race itself.
"When I first got in the stadium it was packed, Solomon said. "There was like 60, 000 people, maybe a little more than that, and I was like `Wow, I don't want to screw this up in front of all these people.'"
Even though Trinidad and Tobago did not quality for the finals in their heat, Solomon managed to put up a personal best by running a 44.7 split on the third leg of the relay. The team missed the finals by 25 hundredths of a second.
Now Solomon will look to use the momentum from his national experience in to the upcoming track and field season.
"I just try to keep it real like I used to last year," he said. "I'm just trying to stay at the top. I have to work harder than I did last year and the year before to just try and keep it up and get better for next year."
Solomon said there is pressure about being the returning champ, but it doesn't mean he is going to take it easy on the competition.
"I want to win every race regardless of who I'm running against and whether it's a mid-level race or if it's a huge world race," he said. "If anything motivates me it's that everyone wants to be the conference champ. I just want to be able to beat that many more people and stay at the top."