By Brian Benson, Bridgewater State University News & Video
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- From elementary school relay race to national champion. That’s how Jayci Andrews traces her running career.
Jayci became the first female national champion in any sport in Bridgewater State University history at the recent NCAA Division III Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston.
The Plymouth South High School graduate won the 60-meter hurdles (video) with a school-record time of 8.68 seconds. She defeated the second- and third-place finishers by a mere one hundredth of a second in a race too close for the announcers to call.
Jayci, a social work major drawn to BSU by its campus and proximity to her family, hopes her Bridgewater education sparks a rewarding career of giving back through social work, preferably at a state Department of Children and Families agency. She praises coaches, teammates, friends, professors and the athletics program for helping her through college.
We recently asked her about her pioneering athletic accomplishment that cements her place in BSU history and leaves her as an inspiration to younger female athletes.
When did you start competing in track?
In elementary school, I remember in third grade my class went outside to do a relay race. I beat all of the girls, and most of the guys too. I was also known as the fast one on the soccer field or basketball court. In middle school, I decided to try out for the track team and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Describe winning the national championship in such a close race, especially after hitting a hurdle at last year’s championship and finishing last in a preliminary race.
I was in shock. We were next to each other the whole race and we both fought for it at the end. It felt like I had won, but it was close, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. It was the all-time best moment of my track career and I’m glad I could share it at home with the people I love.
What does it feel like to forever have a place in BSU history as the first female national champion?
I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment. It’s something no one can take away from me. They can take away my school records (Jayci broke her own record six times in the 60-meter hurdles this season), but not this. To be able to leave my mark and be honored at this school is a special feeling.
What advice do you have for younger female athletes at BSU or in high school who strive for their own national title?
There are going to be times in your career when you feel like you are doing everything right, but don’t get the results you want. There are going to be setbacks, frustration, anger, tears. Moral of the story, never give up, because the comeback is always stronger than the setback.