As the Arizona men's and women's track team prepares for the approaching championship portion of the season, junior Sean Delfani has fought an ongoing battle, with the track and his body.
Feb. 22, 2013
As the Arizona men’s and women’s track team prepares for the approaching championship portion of the season, junior Sean Delfani has fought an ongoing battle, with the track and his body. A 400-meter runner and a member of the 4x400-meter relay, Delfani’s progress has been hampered by injuries to both hamstrings throughout the season.
Every high level athletic competitor realizes that he or she will face obstacles in their quest to be the best. With ongoing injuries, it’s difficult for athletes to gain the confidence needed to be successful in a highly competitive sport. Delfani knows first hand how that much-needed confidence is diminished when an injury impedes any progress in accomplishing a personal goal.
“Every time my hamstring would act up, my confidence would go down significantly,” Delfani said. “I would be feeling really good and training great but all of a sudden my hamstring would go out. Every time I would overcome those injuries and run really well in a race my confidence would go right back up.”
While competing at the New Mexico Classic earlier this month, Delfani clocked a personal best of 46.88 in the 400 meters. Coming back from an injury and setting a personal record was a huge milestone for him to accomplish.
“It’s a time I’ve been trying to run since high school and it took awhile to get there but when it did, it felt amazing,” Delfani said. “It was a huge relief and I feel like I should have been able to run that time a long time ago. I was proud of myself but I have to back it up and keep pushing it.
To fight back from his injury, Delfani didn’t just sit around and wait for his hamstrings to heal. He praises Arizona sprints and relays coach Francesca Green for pushing him to overcome this obstacle.
“Coach Green never let me just sit around and do nothing; she pushed me through it,” Delfani said. “She never pushed me too hard but she wouldn’t let me sit back and let it heal, I had to keep training and not let any scar tissue build up.”
To keep Delfani on track throughout his injury, Green had to try unique tactics to get the star-athlete back to competitive form.
“The last couple years have been difficult for Sean,” said Green. “He had to figure out how to work through it. I know he wants to be good and be fast so I would have him focus on achieving his goals and not so much on his injuries. I had to change my game plan in terms of how I trained him, by figuring out which techniques made him feel good but also at the same time, getting him better and faster.”
After several practices and ongoing persuasion by Green, Delfani currently holds the No. 21 time in the country in the 400-meter dash, a position that may earn him a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Ironically, he credits his success to his having to overcome his injuries, for pushing him beyond his limits and testing his capabilities.
“This process made me stronger,” Delfani said. “It’s a whole new game now. I went from running mediocre times to shooting up there. It added a new pressure. Coach Green always told me that pressure is a privilege and it definitely boosted my confidence a lot.”
Delfani and the TrackCats will compete this weekend at the Mount Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Seattle, Wash. Similar to a conference championship meet, Arizona will face the standard Pac-12 foes in addition to other West Coast teams. Delfani is scheduled to run the 400 meters and as a member of the 4x400-meter relay.