Mandatory Pic Credit: Walter Cornett, Three Point Shots
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a smile is worth a million. For junior girls track member Jessi O’Bryan has developed a positive attitude through hard work and doing her absolute best.
According to Head Girls Track Coach Jamie Hardin, “She always has a smile on her face and she is one of the most ‘coachable’ girls that I have worked with in a long time. She has a genuine desire to improve-whether on the track or in the classroom. She is an advocate for hard-work, doing your best and performing throughout the course of a race. She doesn’t give up when the going gets tough during the meets- she keeps pushing through and gets the job done!”
O’Bryan has been a member of the track team since her freshman year, although she rarely gave it much thought until Hardin had kept asking her multiple times to give it a try. “To be completely honest, I never saw myself as a Track-runner. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy running, it’s just that I never saw myself running competitively because I never thought I would be good enough, but after several weeks of Mrs. Hardin calling my house, leaving messages on my answering machine, asking me in the hallways, and always making conversation about the topic in her classroom, me being the person that I am, always looking to try new things, I decided to give Track a shot.”
So far this season O’Bryan has competed in the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, 4 x 400, and 4 x800 relays and the 400 and 800 individual events. Hardin feels like that her best event currently is the 400, “but I think if she continues to work at the 800, she just might find her niche’.”
However, O’Bryan admits “My favorite event is probably the 4×200 because it is a relay, which requires me to work together with my teammates and it forces me to put a certain amount of trust in them and for them to put a certain amount of trust in me, so that we can attempt to accomplish our goal. It is also one of the most competitive events I am involved in.”
What separates O’Bryan from her peers is her willingness to do what is asked of her on a consistent basis. “I think what separates Jessi from other girls’ is that she is willing to make herself available to try new events or to trust in her coach to put her in events that she will excel,” Hardin says. “I have never heard her complain- whether it is during practice or at a meet. She is also willing to work and reach beyond her comfort zone.”
O’Bryan has been called upon to provide leadership to a relatively young team. Hardin goes on to say, “We do not have any seniors on this year’s team, and she is one of two returning juniors. I have been looking towards her to guide those that are new to the sport of track and field. She has been a three-sport athlete for several years. It takes dedication, desire, and a willingness to put forth the effort. Many students that are capable of participating in more than one sport, choose only to focus on one of them, thus limiting their capabilities. Jessi has been instrumental in all three sports she has been involved in. She is also a great role model in the classroom, she has also put time and effort into becoming an exemplary student.”
The effort in the classroom has certainly been noticed by one of O’Bryan’s favorite teachers in Katy Cecil. “Jessi is an excellent student who is determined to always give her best and succeed. She has made it clear from the beginning of the year that she is not just “in it for the grade,” but is committed to deepening her understanding of the content and becoming a scholar rather than just a student. It has been a pleasure to have her in class and watch her grow as a student and a person over the past year.”
O’Bryan has more than proved a positive perspective in the classroom and on the track. “What I like most about track is that even though you may get dead last in a race, your teammates, coaches, and all the parents still cheer you on. It is a very positive environment and I would recommend Track & Field to anyone. I also like how diverse it is. Even though a person may not like running, they are given other opportunities to showcase their talents.”
A positive attitude and a beautiful smile will always keep O’Bryan ahead of the field.