The Young People’s Champion Jordynn West
Written by Ashley Toussaint
Please remember the name, Jordynn West. This phenomenal young athlete is blazing a trail on a national stage. She is on pace to becoming a future Olympian, if she continues at this rate. But beyond her athletic accomplishments, what set Jordynn apart is her growth mindset.
Jordynn first got into running when she was 9 years old. She grew up racing her older brother. Naturally, she constantly tried her best to beat him. And that was her motivation to start to running track. Once she joined her local track club, the University of Chicago Youth Club, she loved it and moreover enjoyed having a lot of fun with all her teammates.
That first year, was a year of discovery. Learning the basics and having fun was important to Jordynn. But it was in her 2nd and 3rd year that she realized that she wasn’t just good, but she could actually be great. Jordynn decided to focus on the 800 meters and 1500 meters. Her times were dropping every race. And soon, she started to be competitive with some of the best runners in the nation.
Though Jordynn has seen great success in a relatively short amount of time, according to her, it definitely doesn’t come easy. The young runner says, “You have to work hard to be the best you can be and compete at a high level.” But she doesn’t complain, she actually likes the hard work. “Pushing myself to higher levels and seeing the results feels really good!”
With repetition, routine and practice, all runners develop their own unique style and preferences. Sometimes they emulate their idols or role models, while others create their own style and run identity. When asked about her running style, she took some time to reflect, “That’s a tough one. I feel I have really strong endurance but I don’t do a lot of mileage. I also feel I have a lot of speed and power but I don’t do a lot of speed work.” Jordynn is blessed with natural ability, that puts her slightly ahead of the average runner. Usually, we are born with one gift or the other. She’s blessed with both. And it may take sometime before she truly finds her ultimate event. Still, she loves the middle-distances. And truth be told, with her speed and power, she just might be able to even drop down to the 400. We will just have to wait and see.
Though Jordynn is naturally talented, it’s her preparation that sets her apart from other young runners. It all starts with her training. She takes her workouts very seriously. It’s important for her to make sure she does well with her quality workouts and recovery runs. At a young age, she already understands how diet can truly make a difference, “I eat well. I feel if I eat too much junk food, I’ll be sluggish and not at my best for a race,” she says. Another important aspect of her preparation is taking it easy on her recovery days. Jordynn admitted, “I used to go too fast on my recovery runs but now I’ve slowed down and that has helped me feel fresher for my harder workouts and races.” What’s also super impressive is her mental preparation. She uses visualization, essentially seeing and imagining her self being successful during races. And most important of all, she simply said, “breathe!” As a coach myself, I cannot underscore how important preparation is, and she nailed it.
As a freshman at Waxahachie Life High, which is located south of Dallas, she Jordynn is excited about her first year of high school competition. Texas youth sports have not been as interrupted as other parts of the country. So Jordynn has an opportunity to compete this season and has her sights set on qualifying for the state championship in both cross country and outdoor track. Her cross country team recently qualified for the state championship, with hopes to finish in the top 3. Coming into her first year, she doesn’t have any specific goals, nonetheless, her aim is to be competitive every race, work hard and have fun. Being competitive shouldn’t be an issue. Jordynn is running some of the fastest times in the state for a freshman. Let’s take a look at some of her best performance thus far:
July 2019, AAU National Championships
4th place 800 meters 2:22.17 (PR)
1st place 1500 meters 4:55.17 (PR)
October 2020, Waxahachie Woodhouse Invitational
1st place 5k 18:55.50
Jordynn West is going to be exciting to watch over the next 4 years. As mentioned earlier, what really makes Jordynn stand apart is her mindset. She actually reflects on how running has helped her improve in other parts of her life. “It had helped me focus more in everything I do. If I can focus and work hard with running, I know I can do it with anything,” she says. Furthermore, running has also helped Jordynn with planning her days. Which is extremely important, especially for student athletes.
Jordynn continues to attribute much of her success to her family, “My family is everything thing to me. We all support each other with training and competitions.” Her parents are very supportive and do so much for her and her siblings. She openly admits that without her parents, she and her siblings would not have nearly the success that they have had.
Even though Jordynn is relatively new to running, she has had success at a high level. Through her experiences, triumphs and failures, she still is growing as a person and as an athlete. It’s important to be an ambassador for the sport. Wise beyond her years she wants to share advice with other young runners, “First, make sure to always have fun. Train hard and compete harder. Listen you your coaches as they will help you get to the next level. Always have a positive attitude. And believe in yourself.” I could not have said it better myself. Be on the lookout for Jordynn West, “The Young People’s Champion” of running.