For anyone else, just the thought of competing in a national championship would make them sweat. But Erik van Ingen is as cool as the other side of the pillow.
The fifth-year senior and two-time All-American will compete in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend, hosted by Boise State University in Nampa, Idaho.
On Feb. 11, van Ingen placed fifth in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games with a time of 3:56.37. The winner, Miles Batty of Brigham Young University, finished first overall with a time of 3:54.54, and will be competing against van Ingen again in Idaho.
But despite the high quality of competition, van Ingen said he isn’t stressed about the meet.
“It’s like asking Jimi Hendrix if he gets incredibly nervous before he goes out and performs,” he said. “When you have someone and they’re completely in their element and immersed in what they’re doing, what’s going on outside of them is of no concern.”
Van Ingen insisted that he is preparing for the meet as if it were any other race, acknowledging that the only way to succeed is to eliminate any distractions.
“It’s the same mindset and the same mentality,” he said. “It’s just once you get into the race there’s a greater emphasis on positioning, and being in an appropriate position to be able to strike when the iron’s hot.”
The preliminaries of the mile will start at 7 p.m. tonight with two heats of eight runners. The top four finishers in each heat, plus the next two fastest times, will advance to the finals, which will be held at 8:15 a.m. Saturday.