The Carnegie Mellon track and field team’s season began with the new semester. The team had its first competition Janurary 20 at Denison University, where the women’s team won 11 of the meet’s events. Two of these wins came from sophomore jumper Jessica Meng.

Last week, Meng sat down with The Tartan to discuss her early success and the track season to come.

Tartan: When did you first get involved with track?
Meng: I started in middle school, probably seventh grade. Everyone originally made fun of me for it because I absolutely hate running.

T: Is that why you became a jumper?
M: Yeah, pretty much. Not only do I hate running, I am really bad at it. Seriously, every team I have ever been on, I’m pretty much the slowest runner on the team. But I’ve always just been a really bouncy person, so I tried jumping. I pretty much just stick with that.

I do long, triple, and high jump. I used to do hurdles and am trying to get back into that. Triple jump is definitely my favorite; high jump, it’s just a lot easier if you’re taller; and then long jump you’re supposed to run really fast, which I can’t do, so I get frustrated.

T: How exactly does indoor/outdoor track work?
M: Well, it’s the same team and coaches; we just start competing now in January, inside obviously. We have UAA [championships] and everything and then start all over again outside.

It’s kind of hard around here, because there really aren’t any indoor tracks around. So for now, we walk to Duquesne and Pitt to practice a few days a week. Then other than that, we jump around Skibo while the basketball team stares at us like we’re crazy!

T: Do you have a preference between indoor and outdoor?
M: I never ran indoor track before coming to college, so it’s still a little new and weird to me. I think I like outdoor better. Inside’s nice, because it’s always warm and you’re never stuck running in the rain or anything, but sometimes it’s really hot, and I almost feel claustrophobic.

T: Was track part of your decision to come to Carnegie Mellon?
M: I think it was. I was on the dance team too, and I knew I either wanted to dance or do track in college, so that was part of it. Then I came here on a recruiting trip and it was a lot of fun, so I’m glad I’m here.

T: How do you balance your time with track and school?
M: I like to stay really busy. I think it makes me work harder. On top of track, I’m an attendant at the pod games, do Dancer’s Symposium, am in a sorority, and I teach a dance class for iFS.

T: Wow, you are really busy. You guys get to have little breaks and travel for track quite a bit —any favorite places?
M: Not really. We travel often, but we don’t really go far; normally it’s somewhere in Ohio. It’s sad though, we always travel the week of Carnival, so I’ll pretty much never get to go!