Cougar preps for World Championships
For the majority of the UH track and field team, the season ended a month ago. But a lone Cougar has kept his season going, training deep into the weeks of summer without his teammates.
Errol Nolan qualified for the IAAF World Junior Championships after winning the 400-meter dash at the USA Track and Field Junior Championships June 28 in Des Moines, Iowa. For the first time Nolan will be running for the United States and not in his UH uniform.
Unlike most track meets with preliminary heats to determine the final, the World Championships have a three round format. Nolan said conserving his energy throughout the races would have a significant impact on whether or not he advances to the finals.
“I have to set myself up for the next race,” Nolan said. “I have to make sure I get the good lane and not burn myself out while doing it.”
Both of Nolan’s parents are Jamaican and he had a desire to run for the Jamaican team. But since he accepted the invitation to run for the U.S., Nolan will likely not get a chance to ever run for Jamaica. The IAAF rules that an athlete must sit out of international competition for three years if they want to switch the nation they compete for, which is out of the question for Nolan. Despite the rule, Nolan said he is humbled wearing the red, white and blue.
“I’m proud to wear the uniform, but since I’m putting on this uniform I can’t go back and wear the green, black and gold,” he said.
One of Nolan’s career aspirations is to reach the Summer Olympics; being one of two representing the U.S. in his event is a solid start. Nolan is ranked second in the world in the 400, behind national champion Kirani James. James won the national championship for the University of Alabama, but will be representing Grenada at the World Junior Championships.
“I’m just doing the best I can to make my family proud,” Nolan said.
“I feel honored to be talked about around the world. Being favored to place second, I know I am getting mentioned.”
Nolan will have the support and advice of head coach Leroy Burrell on the trip. Nolan’s personal-best in the 400 is 45.59 seconds, but he hopes to break the 45-second mark. Burrell told Nolan he would have to be more aggressive earlier, but to enjoy the experience.
“The advice he’s given is to set myself up for the next race, have fun and to start my kick earlier,” Nolan said.
The meet will be in Moncton, Canada. The first preliminary round in the 400 is July 20, the semifinal will be the 21 and the final will take place the 22.