Mizzou triple jumper Arianna Fisher heads toward home to compete in NCAA outdoor championships

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri junior Arianna Fisher competes at the NCAA West Preliminary on May 29 in Austin, Texas. The San Jose, California, native will compete this week at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Missouri track and field junior Arianna Fisher hasn't competed with several family members in the stands since she was in high school.

The triple jumper's sister is the only relative who's seen her compete live this year, but now the San Jose, California, native is back on the West Coast, launching herself in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. 

Fisher will attempt to win a triple jump championship in front of plenty of family — and thousands of others — at the national meet, which begins Wednesday at the newly refurbished Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

"I'm just really excited to see them. I'm excited for them to be able to see me compete and do what I love," Fisher said. "I have a huge family. ... They're my biggest support system. They support me and everything I do on and off the track. And I know no matter what happens, they're going to be proud of me that I even made it this far."

After the completion of the NCAA championships, Fisher will stay in The Beaver State, where she'll compete in the Olympic Trials starting June 18. 

Many of the same triple jumpers will be competing in both meets.

"I will have already competed on it for nationals. So I think at trials, I'll be more comfortable," Fisher said. "I'll know the runway, I'll know the pits, I'll know where I need to go and stuff like that. So in a little way, it's going to help me because I won't have to be like, 'Oh, this is a new place. I don't know where things are at.' And all the excess stress that can happen going to a new place, that won't be the case for trials."

Fisher set the Missouri women's triple jump school record at the Southeastern Conference championships May 15 with 13.54 meters. It stood for just two weeks, as teammate Mara Hausler bested that mark by two-hundredths at the NCAA's preliminary championships May 29.

Alongside the two triple jumpers, Skylar Ciccolini (women's javelin), Mitch Weber (men's discus throw) and Georgi Nachev (men's triple jump) will compete at the NCAA championships.

"As an athlete, you always hope to have a training partner that pushes you, that makes you better," Fisher said. "And so luckily, we have four (female) triple jumpers here at Mizzou. But it's just me and Mara going to nationals. She really pushes me. I feel like we push each other.

"... It's healthy competition. We push each other, we make each other better. We're also there when we don't have a great meet to support each other. So I'm really happy that we're both going through the process together, going through these meets, and to have someone to talk to and work through with."

After the completion of the NCAA championships, Fisher will stay in Oregon, where she'll compete in the Olympic Trials starting June 18.

Fisher knows to become an All-American or have a shot at qualifying for the Olympics, she'll have to jump in the high 13-meter range or even best 14 meters.

Because of the different athletes competing, there's a possibility a higher score will be needed to win an NCAA title compared to making an Olympic roster. 

"I think she's capable of catching a big jump any anytime, obviously. She did that at the SEC championships, got into the indoor NCAA championships," Missouri head track and field coach Brett Halter said. "... There's a really big one in there lurking for Arianna that could come out any day."

And if that big jump comes, Fisher will have pulled it out in front of a large family cheering section for the first time since she won the California state triple jump championship in 2018. 

After a long wait because of the coronavirus pandemic and holding off on some in-season competition due to her busy summer, Fisher believes she's peaking at the right time. 

"It's like a blessing in disguise kind of, COVID, because I was definitely not prepared for this mentally last year. Physically, I feel like I could have. But mentally, I was just like, 'Olympic trials? I don't think I could do that. I would love to, but I don't know. There's so many great people,'" Fisher said. "And then I really was working hard all through quarantine, all this year.

"And now I'm right up there ... so I think it helped me mentally get in the right mindset of, 'It's time to do this and you can do this.'"

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

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