March 26, 2014
Fifth-year senior Bradley James recaps the indoor season and discusses the positive direction of the program as he prepares for his final outdoor season in a Michigan uniform.
On his thoughts on the 2014 indoor season ... "For me, one thing we accomplished was the mindset going into Big Tens, as well as our other meets -- it was much better and much more business-like and more focused. We're in a rebuilding phase and we're not quite where we want to be yet as a team, but everybody really has their head geared toward the right direction and is getting ready to do what we know we need to be doing at this point."
On individual and team goals for the outdoor season ... "For me personally, one thing I've never done is gotten a gold medal at Big Ten meet. The way the field looks this year, it's something I think is very feasible. I've been training since indoor season with the goal of going out there and competing for a championship. It's hard to look at it this way, but in previous years we had an Olympic bronze medalist in the high jump. As much as I hate to say I can't beat someone else, it was kind of a competition for second place most years. Now the field has really opened up and a lot of us have a shot at that title. As a team, we're still getting the wheels churning a little bit. As upperclassmen, we're in the process of trying to turn this program around. This is my last year so I won't really be here to see the full turn, but I definitely want to help these guys and help get the whole program on the right track so that when I can look back in years to come and know that I was a part of helping turn that around."
On how things are going under head coach Jerry Clayton ... "I think things are going great. One of the biggest things I've noticed is the way guys conduct themselves on and off the track. There's a much more business-like approach, while we're still having fun. We see our trips with a purpose. We're not just going to California because it's nice there, we're there because it's a business trip and we have something to accomplish. Those meets are something we train hard for and each week we have set goals we want to accomplish. The training has been incredible. Coach Clayton is an Olympic-caliber, World-class coach. The stuff that we're doing is the same stuff that a former world champion, Jesse Williams, is doing. For me personally, to see him demonstrate some of the exercises for me helps things click. For guys like Stephen Sykes and Louis Lamberti to continue that program in coming years and get that program embedded in them is going to be great for their outcomes in the future."
On starting the outdoor season with the squad split between two meets ... "It's the nature of the sport. It's a very individual sport that is built into a team aspect at this level. Some meets are better for some events than others so Raleigh, for example, is just a better distance meet for our guys. When that happens, we have to understand that our teammates are going there to accomplish the same things we're going to Florida for. They have goal that they're working toward as well. We still root for each other and look up their results online and talk to those guys throughout the week. One thing we do that helps us stay connected is we have this phone game called Clash of Clans -- you get to build your own clan within the team that's comprised of distance, field events and sprinters -- and we go back-and-fourth talking about that game. It's a little things, but it's things like that that we do to try and stay connected throughout the squad."
On his journey as a student at Michigan ... "I've been studying music and am potentially looking at a dual degree in economics. If I decided to stay and get that degree, it would require me to stay this spring and summer. Honestly, it's been a long journey considering everything I've been through since my freshman year. I had some serious academic struggles my freshman year and I had a lot of doubters that didn't think I would make it through that year. So to be where I am now, it's nothing but a testament to the support of my family and support of my teammates to get me where I am. I wouldn't have been able to do any of that without them. It's truly a blessing to be where I am now, looking at graduating from the University of Michigan."
Previous Spotlight: Ethan Dennis