Marquis Dendy is on his way to recovering from the NCAA Indoor Championships.
After failing to score at the national meet last month, Dendy took first place in the long jump at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, after jumping 7.93 meters on Friday.
The mark isn’t his career best, but it showed coach Mike Holloway that his long jumper is back to the standard Dendy sets for himself.
Holloway said Dendy’s pride hurt him when trying to come back from a torn labrum and dislocated arm.
But the junior is realizing that now, and he is taking a different direction in order to be a champion again.
“He’s a lot more focused, he’s working a lot harder and he understands that he has the ability to get back to where he was,” Holloway said.
“He had surgery this fall and I think sometimes when you’re young and you’re a great athlete, you think you can step back on the track and it’s just going to happen and that’s not the way it works.”
Dendy’s results in the long jump and triple jump have been a roller coaster ride because of his surgery in September. But he has slowly made his way back to top finishes.
During the indoor season, he finished 11th at the Southeastern Conference Championship in the triple jump.
He just missed the podium in his other event, placing fourth in the long jump during the same competition.
Similarly, Dendy placed 16th in the long jump at NCAA Indoors and didn’t qualify for a triple-jump final.
But after overcoming the adversity from his torn labrum and surgery, the Middleton, Del., native is hoping to build on his win at the Texas Relays.
The significance of placing high at a meet like the Texas Relays gives Dendy more of an upper hand because the level of competition is what the Gators will see at outdoor nationals.
“It prepares us for the future, it prepares us for things we have to get done down the road,” Holloway said. “The significance is we get to go to a meet that is a championship caliber race with championship caliber athletes.”
Understanding what it takes to overcome defeat is an attribute every athlete must come to comprehend. Dendy said he leaves everything in the past in order to prove himself all over again.
“I know how to keep my progression going,” Dendy said. “I don’t shy from any type of expectations, I don’t say I can’t do this. Can’t is not in my vocabulary.”
Follow Lawrence Laguna on Twitter @LagunaLawrence
Marquis Dendy (far left) races in the 55m on Jan. 17, 2013, during the Gator Invitational in the O’Connell Center. Dendy finished first in the long jump at the Texas Relays.