Jimmies' Jordyn Toliver heads south for NAIA Nationals
The heptathlon encompasses seven events, the 100 meter hurdles, the high jump, the shot put, the 200 meter run, the long jump, the javelin and the 800 meter run.
JAMESTOWN — After an outdoor track season that ran from late March to early May, only one woman will represent the University of Jamestown in the NAIA National Championships on Thursday, May 26, in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The kicker is that Jordyn Toliver has only been participating fully in her event, the heptathlon, for two years.
One of the most important ingredients to a successful heptathlon athlete is the ability to move on from a poor performance very quickly.
“It’s just about keeping the right mindset so she is able to refocus and stay focused; making sure she knows she doesn’t need to do the best she’s ever done in all seven events,” Jimmies head coach Andrew Raske said. “She just needs to do what she’s capable of. So, it’s keeping her focused and keeping the mindset where it needs to be.”
The sophomore came in third in the heptathlon and second in the javelin in the GPAC Championships on May 7. Toliver is one of three Jimmies heading to the national championships with junior Braeden Gumke and sophomore Jorden Morales also making the trip.
Despite having as much success as she is having with the sport, Toliver initially picked up throwing the javelin as a freshman. She also quit the Jimmies basketball team to focus full time on track and field.
“I’ve never been a person to just choose one thing, that's why I did two sports initially in college and all throughout high school,” Toliver said. “So being able to combine all my events and not have to pick one is what really pushed me to do that. A lot of people like to say that it’s crazy that multis do the multis but I think it's really fun because if one event doesn’t go your way you can just move on to the next one.”
Toliver said she strategically noticed not as many fellow competitors prioritizing the throwing events over the running and jumping events so she concentrates on the throwing events.
“Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in it,” Toliver said. “My weakness tends to be in the hurdles where I lose a lot of points and other people most of their weaknesses are in the throwing events. So, personally, I tried to make those my strengths so I can make up the points that I lost in the other events.”
When Toliver first started doing the heptathlon at UJ, she said that she was breaking each event down and figuring out how to get better at each one.
“My first year was getting to know how to do each event,” Toliver said. “I did most of them in high school but really fine tuning them. Most of it came together at the end of my first year. My coaches this year have tweaked some things to help me get better. My marks have definitely been improving and so hopefully they’ll just continue improving so I can get a higher score.”
In the lead-up to the events, Toliver said she and her coaches have been prioritizing conserving energy while continuing to practice.
“This week I've just been basically getting a lot of rest and drinking lots of water,” Toliver said. “We went, practiced every event and had a couple of days in there. We head out Monday, I believe, we’ll have another rest day for travel and then we’ll practice again just to fine tune, for me probably the hurdles.”
Raske said for Toliver to do well in the National Championships, she has to live up to her potential.
“She just needs to compete the way she is capable of,” Raske said. “In each of the heptathlon that she’s competed in this year, she’s had at least one event where things haven’t gone her way. If we can put it together and have her do what she’s capable of in all seven, she’s got a great chance of being an All-American again just like she was in the indoors.”