Victoria Kadiri didn’t set out to become a track and field phenom. But with a year remaining in her college career, the Johns Hopkins junior has already set the record for the most-ever individual national titles by a Blue Jay female student-athlete, surpassing that of JHU swimmer Ana Bogdanovski. “For a long time, basketball was my main sport, and I’d use track as a way to stay in shape,” Kadiri says. “But then I discovered jumping.” And jump she can.
Kadiri is a standout in the long jump and triple jump, where she holds numerous national records—and seven national titles—in both indoor and outdoor track. The 2022 National Outdoor and 2023 National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, she has also excelled in the pentathlon and heptathlon, short sprints, and on Blue Jay relay teams.
When it comes to training, she is a stickler for routine. Mondays and Wednesdays, you’ll usually catch her running shorter, faster sets with her teammates, followed by strength training. Tuesdays, you’ll find her at the track with the entire team. “I get in jumps and throws and longer tempo running on those days,” she explains. Thursdays are often recovery days spent in the pool, aqua-jogging with a few teammates. Fridays, she’s working on her mental game, visualizing how she’d like the next day’s meet to go, along with some easy stretching.
Balancing her general engineering undergrad coursework with athletics, Kadiri is grateful to have an understanding coach in Alex Jebb. “He’s always been a responsive coach and helps me make sure my mind is clear and focused at meets,” she says. “He understands that academics come first and supports me in all my efforts.”
For his part, Jebb has enjoyed his role coaching Kadiri. “She’s uncommonly poised, curious, and thoughtful in everything she does,” he says.
Like all student-athletes who competed throughout the pandemic, Kadiri had to adjust her training regimen. In the early days, that meant training at home in Massachusetts while taking classes virtually. She’d work on plyometric exercises in her driveway or local parking lots to keep her muscles primed for an eventual return to formal training. As students eased back onto campus, the team had to break into small groups for strength work and didn’t always have access to the track. The upside is a red-shirt year, which Kadiri will use for her eventual master’s program.
Shortly ahead of the Centennial Conference Championships this spring, Kadiri was feeling good. “As we close out the season, I remain confident in my ability to perform on the highest stages,” she said.
And that confidence paid off: In early May, Kadiri became the first-ever three-time conference Field Athlete of the Year, winning five gold medals and setting a school record with her long jump of 6.33 meters, the second-best long jump in NCAA Division III history. Most impressively, at the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Kadiri shattered the six-year-old national record of 13.00m in the triple jump, covering an astonishing 13.21m and locking in her seventh national title.
Running While Masked: Kadiri began her first year at JHU remotely, owing to the pandemic. Once classes and sports resumed in person, campus policy required athletes to wear a mask, even while training and competing. “It didn’t impact me as much as I expected,” she says, “but I did have to think about my breathing a bit more than normal.”
SLAM Dancing: Track and field isn’t the only way Kadiri gets in her exercise. She’s also a member of the JHU SLAM hip-hop dance group. “It’s much more creative than track, which tends to be more rigid,” she says.