Jimmies track athletes preparing for 2023 NAIA National Championships
The Jimmies five athletes is the most they've had at the NAIA National Championships since they had eight in 2016.
MARION, IN — After a successful season, the University of Jamestown has five athletes going to the 2023 NAIA National Championships on Wednesday, May 24, at Indiana Wesleyan University.
The Jimmies going to the National Championships are Jorden Morales, Dawson Sedevic, Tyler Dean, Jordynn Toliver and Anni Stier.
“First and foremost we’re just coming here to compete well and represent UJ well and if everyone holds themselves well over the week and competes to the best of their abilities and has fun out there then we’ll have done what we need to do,” Jimmies head coach Jarvis Jelen said. “But for a more specific standpoint, when you’re looking at where people are ranked coming in, our goal would be to go and try to meet or exceed where we are coming in ranked at.”
Toliver is the most experienced out of the group as she is heading to the championships for the third year in a row.
“There’s definitely going to be those nerves but I think having gone before help alleviates some of that,” Toliver said. “It’ll also be nice to have more teammates there for some support, we can cheer on each other.”
Dean, Stier and Sedevic are making their first-ever trips to the national championships. Morales is making his second consecutive trip to the national championships. Another person making their first-ever trip to the NAIA national championships is Jelen.
“It’s an interesting experience,” Jelen said. “I’ve been to many other national championships at other divisions but this is my first time at NAIA Nationals. So, really what I’m doing here is to support the athletes and coaches and get a feel for how NAIA Nationals operates, so when we have better and better teams in the future as our program develops we can be as prepared as possible to really compete well here the next time, the more familiar we are with the landscape.”
Toliver is competing in the heptathlon and javelin. Last year, Toliver won the shot put and the javelin events as part of the heptathlon. Her best finish in the heptathlon at the national championships was a sixth-place finish last year
“I pulled my hamstring a few weeks ago so we’re really gonna take it one event at a time,” Toliver said. “We’re going to push it as much as we can while trying to stay healthy. This last week of practice went pretty well but I’m hoping to still be pretty competitive. Obviously, you always want to go for that first-place spot but I’m hoping the hamstring doesn’t have too much of an impact.”
Dean qualified after the rest of his teammates as he qualified in the discus with a throw of 47.70 meters at the 2023 Loper Twilight on May 13.
“Honestly, it was a good opportunity. It was cool to have some guys there to celebrate with, especially Jorden, he’s been helping me a lot with my discus,” Dean said. “I was really pumped to be able to do it with him watching and obviously my coach (Kathryn Lemm) and my mom (Christen Fiedler) was there as well.”
Since this is his first-ever trip to the national championships, Dean said he will be nervous but is excited to compete.
“I think the biggest thing for me is, try not to let the pressure of this being my first national meet build and just try and be confident when I step in the ring; trust that I’ve practiced and worked all year to get to this point and try and go hit a PR (personal record),” Dean said.
Dean and Morales will be competing against each other in the discus but Dean said there will be some friendly banter between the two.
“Jorden’s one of the best competitors, I’ve ever met. So, it’s always fun to get to throw in practice with him, especially he’s gotta bring his A-game. I’m excited for him and what he’s gonna do at this meet. I think that’ll be a good opportunity for him and for me to watch him.”
Toliver said she is excited to have as many teammates at the national championships as she does because of the fact that it gives her more people to hang out with.
“It’ll be nice to have another girl there for sure and to be able to do some activities together,” Toliver said. “Often, it was just the coaches and me so we always got to do things but really having those teammates around will make it a better experience in my opinion.”