Overcoming challenges can often be difficult, but when you have the mental strength of a Texas State track and field athlete, a small obstacle turns into a chance to make a comeback.
Mylana Hearn, senior horizontal jumper, started running around the age of 12. She began as an 800-meter runner and progressed into field events such as the long jump, high jump and triple jump.
Although she initially started out as a basketball player, Hearn fell in love with the track and field culture.
“For track and field, I feel like everyone’s a family,” Hearn said. “It’s boys and girls and we compete for our own championships, but it’s still like a family and a team.”
Hearn has been competing as a college athlete ever since her freshman year.
“When I first got recruited, I fell in love with the coaching staff and the atmosphere,” Hearn said. “I visited other schools and it was like people stuck with those from their event. But here, everyone knew each other.”
Hearn faced one of the hardest challenges during her first year. She suffered from a stress fracture in her right tibia.
Hearn’s injury kept her from competing in the outdoor season as a freshman and the indoor season for sophomore year.
While Hearn returned during the outdoor season of her sophomore year, the stress fracture remained and she still felt the pain.
However, Hearn’s mindset allowed her to continue competing throughout the following year.
“Mental strength is the most important thing you can have, along with positivity,” Hearn said. “My parents have always instilled positivity on me, so it’s a very strong suit that I have.”
Although staying positive motivated her to continue, Hearn was not as confident as she wanted to be heading into nationals during junior year.
Earning titles and setting records is a dream for many athletes. While Hearn always shared that dream, being on an All-American team did not seem possible because of her injury.
“An All-American team wasn’t an expectation because of my injury,” Hearn said. “I felt like it wasn’t a possibility, but then things started to click.”
Hearn worked harder than ever, and earned a title for the 2016 NCAA All-American Second Team in the triple jump.
“To get the Second Team All-American meant everything,” Hearn said. “Number one—I didn’t expect to get there because I wasn’t even top-ranking going into regionals. Competing with a broken shin—that pain is hard to describe. This was the greatest accomplishment.”
Two weeks after earning her title at nationals, Hearn got the surgery for her stress fracture. She made a full recovery at the end of three long months.
Hearn still has one more year left to fulfill her collegiate athletic career, and her teammates inspire her to progress every day.
“I had three freshman triple jumpers come in this season, and I really want to see them compete and strive and get better,” Hearn said. “I tell them to keep their heads up through all the adversity, because there’s going to be a lot. I tell them to keep pushing because when you think it’s over, it’s not over.”
With only one year left, Hearn wants to make sure she leaves her mark at Texas State.
“I really just hope I was a good role model to people that came after me,” Hearn said. “I still want to get the school records, and I hope to get another ring and accomplish First All-American Team.”
Along with her own personal mentality to stay strong, Hearn has always been open to hearing advice from others and applying it to her life. One of the best pieces of advice she ever received was from coach Earl Thomas: “A goal without a plan is a wish.”
“I thought about what my goals were and what I was going to do to get there,” Hearn said. “It kind of made me think that if I want to do something, I just can’t be doing the same thing—I have to change it up and do what others aren’t doing to get there.”
Hearn does not allow obstacles to set her back. Instead, she continues to learn from the past while always looking ahead toward the future.