Sarnia hurdler making jump to NCAA
A Sarnia hurdler is making the jump to the NCAA on a track and field scholarship.
Jaelyn Cole, a Grade 12 student at Northern Collegiate, is set to attend Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania this fall.
Cole said she is more of a long-distance hurdler, competing in events like the 300 metre and 400 metre.
She said her biggest achievements in track include two OFSSA bronze medals.
“I think my biggest accomplishments were definitely when I was able to go to OFSAA in my Grade 9 and 10 years — because there was no COVID. I placed third in the 300 metre hurdles in both years.”
Cole said the COVID pandemic made selecting a school to attend a bit challenging.
She said it was an interesting process choosing a school based on Zoom meetings, emails and other socially-distanced forms of communication.
“A lot of it for me was based off of the coach and how I kind of felt with them. I think the Saint Francis coach was just able to really kind of help me answer all of my questions and was really accommodating and made me feel really welcomed there — I felt like they really wanted me there.”
Cole also said she liked the idea of attending a smaller school to get to know her teachers and make more of an impact — the school has around 1,600 students.
Cole said she has some big goals for down south.
“I think in track, I want to continue to train for as long as I can, and going professional or going to the Olympics would obviously be the best possible outcome for me,” she said. “But I think that just even making it as far as I have, I’m incredibly grateful. I’ve always had my goals set for this, so to be actually doing it is just so amazing right now.”
Cole said she definitely wants to try and make the NCAA Championships at least once during her time as a Saint Francis Red Flash.
“I think that would be a really crazy experience for me — knowing that I’m such a small-town Canadian going to a big meet like that, I think that would be really awesome.”
Cole added that she’ll be studying marketing this fall.
“I want to look into being on the marketing team for a bigger kind of sports brand as much as I can, just because growing up as an athlete I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like for training and stuff like that.”