Jordyn Brown: Promising shot putter goes to NCAA Outdoor Championships
In January of 2007, Jordyn Brown walked on to the Texas track and field team as a freshman hoping to have a new and fun experience. As a walk-on (non-scholarship) field event performer in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, she had few expectations.
Just one year later however, Brown, a Mesquite, Texas native, is emerging as a performer to watch on the national scene. In her specialty event, the shot put, the former high school cheerleader turned All-Big 12 thrower made vast improvement from the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships to the 2008 event, going from a 16th place finish in 2007 to a third-place finish last weekend in Lincoln, Neb. That third-place finish advanced Brown to the upcoming NCAA Championships.
This will be Jordyn's second NCAA national meet. She made her first NCAA appearance in March at the national indoor competition, placing 15th in the shot put.
In one short year, Brown has developed into a regional and national threat in the throwing events, and also earned herself a UT track and field scholarship in the process.
"We saw glimpses that Jordyn could be good, but there was no idea how quickly it would happen," said Texas head coach Bev Kearney. "She trained all last summer, hit the weight room harder, and her whole intensity went up. More than anything else, Jordyn's confidence in herself was really the catalyst for everything that is happening now."
The hard work and confidence over the past year showed at the 2008 Big 12 Outdoor Championships where Brown earned All-Big 12 honors by placing second in the shot put with a toss of 53-feet, nine inches (16.73m), just over two meters further than her 2007 season best. She also earned points for UT in the discus with a fifth-place finish with another person-best effort (165 feet, 8 inches).
She talked with TexasSports.com about her transition from a walk-on to scholarship student-athlete as she prepares for her first NCAA Outdoor Championships which take place June 11-14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Brown enters the NCAA nationals ranked 11th in the shot put.
What were you expecting when you walked on to this nationally-ranked Texas team last January? Honestly, I just wanted to have fun and meet some cool and talented people at first. I never expected that I would be competing at this level and having the success that I've been having!
How did you react to being put on scholarship this year? Oh, I was really excited! Once I got to the team and started competing, that became one of my goals. I wanted to be good enough in the throws to maybe get some money to help pay for school. So, that is one goal down, and I am appreciative of the coaches for that.
What were your other goals coming into this year? Well, I really came in with a whole new attitude. I've been going to the weight room and taking my training to a whole new level. I know it's showing in my throwing and that gives me confidence. I knew I wanted to be at both the indoor and outdoor national championships. I knew that I wanted to be a productive member of the team and score points. So, that's my goal going into nationals. I hope to score points there, too.
What do you consider the highlight of your season so far? The Big 12 Conference meet stands out the most. I was on cloud nine because I had a really big personal record in the shot put. Plus, I came in not even ranked in the discus. So to finish fifth in the discus was a really huge deal. I was really excited about that!
How do you feel about competing against the best throwers in the country next week? It's really exciting. Since this is an Olympic year, people are throwing extremely better than any other year as they get prepared to go to Olympic Trials. I'm excited to see what everyone else is going to do. I just want to be in the thick of it and do my best for our team.
How are you going to pump yourself up before you compete on Thursday (June 12) in the shot put? I think that (excitement) just comes with being there. I'm just going to try to stay calm and focus. Coming from where I've come from, a lot of pressure is off now that I've qualified for nationals, and I'll be able to go in and have fun during the competition. That's when I do my best.