This past week Herman Kirkland, a junior at Shippensburg University, was named PSAC Athlete of the Week. Now The Slate has decided to bestow Kirkland as its athlete of the week. Kirkland, an indoor and outdoor track star recently broke his personal record for this semester in the long jump for indoor.
Kirkland who is the No. 1 ranked long jumper in the PSAC and the second ranked jumper in Division II just jumped 24 feet 3 inches. His all time record in the long jump is at 25 feet 3 inches.
I sat down with Kirkland to discuss what his thoughts were on being named PSAC Athlete of the Week. Kirkland said that this is his second time being recognized by the PSAC, and he feels it is a great honor. Kirkland thanked his coaches who pushed him hard to always continue and compete on a high level each day.
“The competition in the PSAC is very intense,” Kirklandsaid, “But it also gets harder once you head into the national level.”
He did not always have this easy of a time, though. His first year of eligibility was very overwhelming. He said that nerves were definitely an issue as he made his first steps into a collegiate event, but it gave him the experience to become a record-breaking athlete.
Kirkland said that outdoor track might be his favorite of the two, but he views indoor track as a way to get in shape for what he will experience in the outdoor competitions.
As it turns out, Kirkland was a young man coming to SU in high school and competing in the state championships here, so when he decided to move on from his junior college days at Shaw University in North Carolina, he knew SU was the place to come.
Kirkland said he feels blessed to be in the situation that he is in. He said that no matter what struggles one might have outside of the sport or school, one has to tell oneself that other people would kill to be in the position he is in at SU. The university has been a blessing to Kirkland and he has reciprocated his love by setting records for it.
Kirkland will race and jump again with his teammates at the New Balance Collegeiate Invitational held next weekend, Feb. 3 and 4 in New York, N.Y. at the Armory Track and Field Center.