Sharon Day-Monroe may be a volunteer assistant coach for the UCLA track team, but her career as a track athlete is still very much alive.
On June 28, Day-Monroe won her second consecutive U.S. women’s national heptathlon championship at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. This was Day-Monroe’s third time winning the women’s national heptathlon championship in the last four years.
“I knew if I performed well like I have been the past few years that I should win,” Day-Monroe said.
Day-Monroe is a professional heptathlete, meaning she competes in seven competitions – the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and the 800-meter run. The top prize in outdoor heptathlon competitions goes to the track athlete who has the best combined score among all of these events. In recent years, Day-Monroe has evolved into one of the top heptathletes in the world.
Over the past two years, the 29-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate has spent a majority of her days on the UCLA track, both as a coach and as a heptathlete aiming to go to the 2016 Summer Olympic games after competing in the 2008 and 2012 games, where she finished 24th in the high jump and 16th in the heptathlon, respectively.
For Day-Monroe, part of her coaching is leading by example, as the two-time Olympian trains alongside the UCLA heptathletes that she teaches.
“Training isn’t that difficult. It doesn’t add that much to be a coach during (my) training, because I train with the girls that I coach,” Day-Monroe said.
The process of simultaneously training and coaching at UCLA has not been too taxing on Day-Monroe over the past two years, but she admits that traveling to UCLA meets in addition to her own meets has taken its toll.
“The difficult times are when I have the extra travel, like coaching when I’m on the road,” Day-Monroe said.
During the collegiate indoor season this past winter, Day-Monroe was on the road almost every weekend, either as a competitor in her own track events or as a coach at UCLA’s team meets.
In spite of the tiring and cumbersome road trips, Day-Monroe has rarely, if ever, missed a training session with her personal trainer, UCLA associate track coach Jack Hoyt.
Hoyt has been Day-Monroe’s personal coach for the past eight years. During that time, Day-Monroe transitioned from an NCAA champion high jumper at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to an Olympian in 2008 and 2012. At almost all of Day-Monroe’s track events, Hoyt has been right there on the sidelines, inspiring her and providing coaching tips.
“One of (my) most memorable moments is certainly making my first Olympic team in 2008 in Eugene and having him there coaching me on the sideline and seeing him cheering on the side when I finally knew that I made the team,” Day-Monroe said.
When Hoyt, a former field coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, accepted a coaching offer at UCLA in 2013, Day-Monroe followed him from the Central Coast to Westwood.
“(Hoyt) has taught me most of what I know about the heptathlon and combined events,” Day-Monroe said. “We have a great relationship, and he’s got me to where I am today.”
Although Day-Monroe followed Hoyt’s footsteps to become a coach at UCLA, she plans to form her own path outside of track and field after her career as a competitor is over.
“I’m not sure if coaching is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life after training is over,” Day-Mornoe said. “Coaching is definitely an option, but I don’t think that’s what I’m totally passionate about.”
Day-Monroe will be starting on her MBA in marketing this summer at DeVry University, but she still wants to win a few more championships and possibly an Olympic gold medal before she departs from the track and field realm.
“I definitely am going to train through the next Olympics, through 2016, and then kind of evaluate where I am,” Day-Monroe said.
Up until 2016, at least, Day-Monroe will likely continue spending a great deal of her time at the UCLA track, both as an athlete and a coach.
Compiled by Matthew Joye, Bruin Sports senior staff.