MARQUETTE, Mich. – With the beginning of the 2010 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships (May 5-7) at Ferris State University, one member of the Northern Michigan University women’s team will be busy. Bailey Franklin is one of the favorites in the heptathlon. She is also scheduled to compete in three field events.
The heptathlon consists of the following events: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and the 800. Entering the championships, Franklin is ranked third in the GLIAC in the event. The sophomore from River Falls, Wis. recorded a season-best score of 4,406 points at the Northwood Open where she won the event. She is also scheduled to compete in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
At last year’s GLIAC Outdoor Championships, Franklin was named the GLIAC Co-Freshman of the Year. She won the triple jump and was second in the heptathlon. To be able to excel in all these events, Franklin must be easy to coach. “She is very coachable and a very nice person,” said Tom Barnes, the head women’s track and field coach at NMU. “She catches on really quick. If we demonstrate something to her, she will really work at it. She is really athletic and advances quickly.” Barnes added that her personality and attitude help to make her that way.
Franklin arrived on the NMU campus in 2008 as a two-sport student-athlete. She was a member of the NMU volleyball team that season. After the volleyball season she decided to concentrate on track and field. At the GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2009, Franklin captured the triple jump and was third in the pentathlon. At the 2010 event she won the triple jump again and was second in the pentathlon.
According to Barnes she was a very good volleyball player, but saw her future in track and field. “She realized it took a commitment to do one sport that she had to make a decision on which way to go,” said Barnes. “It looked like track and field had more promise for her. I think that was the main reason.”
When asked why she decided to pick one sport over the other, Franklin thought that she was better at track and field. “I knew that volleyball was never my main sport,” said Franklin. “I knew track was, so I stick to what I was best at. Now I can focus the whole year instead of the second semester.”
To do the multi-events, Franklin has to handle a number of different events. “I can do a little bit of everything. I love jumping and running the hurdles,” said Franklin. “It gives me more variety and it does not get me sick of just one event.”
Franklin’s pull towards track was a natural as her brother and sister also competed. “I grew up around it,” said Franklin. “It was not expected, but I knew it was what I wanted to go into.”
It seems that the future is bright for Franklin. She has the potential to be a great track and field performer for the NMU team. A NCAA Division II National Championship is well within her reach.
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