GRINNELL, Iowa – Case Western Reserve University senior Matthew Jurcak (Olmsted Falls, Ohio/Olmsted Falls) will have an All-American finish in mind when he competes in the 60-meter hurdles this weekend at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship at the Charles Benson Bear '39 Recreation and Athletic Center.
Jurcak will be competing at the indoor national meet for the first time in his career after participating in last spring's NCAA DIII Outdoor Championship.
"I am really excited," said Jurcak. "Last year, I just missed the finals outdoors (110 hurdles), and when comparing my two favorite races (110 hurdles outdoors and 60 hurdles indoors), I actually like the indoor race better because it is quicker and more technically demanding both mentally and physically. It ultimately challenges me from start to finish."
This winter, Jurcak registered a personal-best in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.19 seconds during the University Athletic Association Championship. That performance was good for a runner-up finish and tied for the eighth-fastest time in the nation.
"Whether it be indoors or outdoors, the national championship is obviously a really intense meet," noted Jurcak. "With this being my second appearance, I will be able to keep my head on straight and mentally focus a lot better. It is very good to have that past experience under my belt and know what I am walking into this time around."
Jurcak joins an event field that is tightly bunched with the third-quickest time just .06 seconds (8.13) ahead of the tie for eighth.
The fourth-year Spartan knows that an aggressive approach will be a key this weekend.
"Since the times are close and since it is a short race, the first and second hurdles really make a huge difference," said Jurcak. "I need to be as aggressive as possible, stay on my toes, and really go after each hurdle holding nothing back. Everything in this race is short and technical, so I need to be in top form in hopes of moving on to Saturday's finals and possibly becoming an All-American."
The preliminary run is set to begin at 5:35 p.m. (CDT) on Friday with finals slated on Saturday at 3:55 p.m. (CDT).