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Horizontal jumper reaches for the stars

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Women's track member getting ready for her jump
Photo courtesy of Naomi Ferdinand.

For one athlete, her hard work and dedication do not only show through the records she has made, but this track and field star’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the people who surround her.

Naomi Ferdinand, sophomore horizontal jumper, began her track journey in the eighth grade after she realized her potential to thrive in the sport.

“My coaches used to say I was a waste of talent because I was kind of forced into trying track, but after trying it, I fell in love and grew a passion for it,” Ferdinand said.

The Houston native enjoys being part of the women’s track and field team because of the huge support system and sisterhood it has created for her.

“Even when you have bad days, you have someone to pick you up and it’s amazing to have that kind of support,” Ferdinand said. “It’s especially true for track because people often think that (the team is) too big, but it brings us together to create a bond.”

Time management can be difficult for athletes since the sport is a big commitment, but it pushes Ferdinand to maintain good study habits.

“You really have to learn how to manage everything all together, sometimes we go out all day and return late which is tiring,” Ferdinand said. “Although I am tired, I have the self-discipline to study and focus on my academics since I want to do physical therapy for athletes.”

Success and victory is the best feeling Ferdinand experiences, which keeps her ambitious and motivated.

“I’m passionate about this, it’s not just a hobby,” Ferdinand said. “It is a big part of me and I want to be the best in my event, coming out on top every time.”

Ferdinand appreciates being a part of a champion team because her teammates are vibrant and influence her to be great.

“I look up to all of the seniors since they are approaching the end and we’re just getting started,” Ferdinand said. “Just being around them teaches me to be strong-minded and incredible as they are.”

Ferdinand’s friend, Taydria Nickerson, psychology sophomore, appreciates Ferdinand’s energy and ability to make anyone smile.

“Naomi can get me to laugh at anything no matter how I’m feeling and all I have to worry about is being myself,” Nickerson said. “Life feels so easy and fun when she’s around.”

Jaylin McMillan, electrical engineering junior, is one of Ferdinand’s friends and said she is caring, dependable and encouraging.

“One thing I like about her personality is that she is courageous,” McMillan said. “She is never afraid to take the next step forward in her life.”

Ferdinand continues to work hard to be the best and has goals to reach for the present and the future.

“Jumping requires a lot of work but my main goal is to jump 20 feet, and I’m almost there,” Ferdinand said. “If I get to where I desire to be, I’m thinking of going professional. It is one of the biggest dreams I’ve had since my junior year of high school and it’s going to be hard but definitely not impossible.”

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