|The Biggest Obstacle: College
Even the most involved Juniors find themselves trading leashes for books as they graduate high school and begin college. Most former Juniors would find it impossible to juggle being a full-time student with competing in dog shows every weekend. Many of them completely put involvement with purebred dogs on hold or are forced to pick and choose which shows to attend while in college. As many of you current Juniors near high school graduation, you may be wondering if it is possible to do both at the same time. Well, former Junior, Jennifer Crank, has not only figured out how to go to school and compete, but how to do so at a world level.
At only seventeen, Jennifer accomplished what most agility competitors twice her age only dream of: she was invited to compete as a member of the Medium Team for the 2004 AKC/USA World Agility Team. Jennifer was the first Junior ever to compete on the US world team. One might think that after graduating high school Jennifer would no longer be able to compete so much or at such a high level, but they would be wrong. Jennifer made the World Team a second time in 2006 at 19 years old. She and her Sheltie, Guess, traveled to Switzerland and took home an individual silver medal. In 2007, Jennifer once again made the AKC/US World Agility team with her dog Guess. They traveled to Norway for the competition, and once again, were the only pair to win an individual medal (a bronze) on the US team.
Jennifer still devotes 45 of the 52 weekends in a year to agility and conformation shows. Blaster, a Sheltie, is one of her agility dogs and she shows her Border Collie in conformation. Focusing on competing mostly in agility instead of trying to do it all (agility, obedience, conformation, and Junior Showmanship) has made it easier for Jennifer to keep up with college and training for competitions.
Jennifer says that for her, balancing school and training has not been that difficult, although going from high school to college was a big adjustment her first year. Picking the Ohio State University was important because it allowed her to continue living at home with her dogs and have access to a full set of agility equipment in the backyard. Training sessions are worked in around her school schedule. She may have had to sacrifice having the “typical” college experience, but Jennifer’s priorities are very different from the typical college student’s. She could never imagine giving up training and competing with her dogs, even if only for a few years.
Her involvement with dogs even played a role in choosing a major. Jennifer chose Business Administration because she is unsure what job she would like to have upon graduating and it is a very versatile degree. She also wants a career that will allow her the time to travel to competitions and train. Many people may wonder why Jennifer would not just choose to train dogs for a living or go into another dog-related career, but she does not want to make the hobby she loves her work. Jennifer feels that would lead her to get burnt out on agility and training dogs because she has seen it happen to others.
As Jennifer enters her senior year of college, she is once again on the AKC/US World Agility team, but this time with Blaster a.k.a. MACH8 Trinity Having a Blast RN HT OF. She found out they made the team in May, and they will compete for the U.S. in Austria September 18-20. She is able to train for this and go to school because most of Blaster’s training was done during his younger years. Now they only train about twice a week, but the training sessions are much harder. Training for the World’s can be difficult though because her teammates are from all over the United States, so they do not get to train together. Her coach emails new training exercises and the whole team meets twice a year in California, where her coach lives.
Jennifer Crank is proof that being successful at college and in the show ring is possible. It takes dedication, hard-work, and sacrifice, but Jennifer would not have it any other way. Much like in the agility ring, Jennifer finds a way to succeed no matter what obstacles she encounters.
A Typical Day:
7:30 am: Wakes up, takes care of dogs (let outside & feed)
9:30 am: Drives to class at OSU
10:30am -12:15pm: Accounting class
1:00 pm: Arrives home, eats lunch
2:00 -4:00 pm: Studies or sometimes trains her dogs or teaches agility lessons
4:45 pm: Drives to class at OSU
5:30 - 7:00 pm: Finance class
7:30-8:30 pm: Teaches an agility class
8:30 pm: Trains her dogs
9:30 pm: Eats dinner and gets things together for the next day
10 pm: Studies or reads for class
11 pm: Goes to bed