By David Wolcott, Old Colony Memorial (Plymouth)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Jayci Andrews made countless trips to the Reggie Lewis Center to do what she does best as a member of the Plymouth South track and field program. Now a senior at Bridgewater State University. Andrews will be back on familiar ground as she challenges for a national title in the 60-meter hurdles at the RLC as part of the 2019 NCAA Division III Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Andrews is seeded second in the event with a top time of 8.74 seconds, a BSU record. Her preliminary race is slated to take place Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. with the finals scheduled for Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
“It’s a place where I’m comfortable running, which is great because I want to make everything as comfortable as possible and treat it like just another race,” Andrews said Wednesday morning. “I’m always battling nerves at these races and it will be a big help to be running at a place where I’ve had so many meets with loads of friends and family there to cheer me on.”
It seems like it was just yesterday when Andrews was tearing up track ovals all around the Patriot League as one of the best all-around athletes ever to walk the halls of Plymouth South. But she’s now a senior at BSU, majoring in social work, and realizing that she’s only got a season or two left to go.
“It’s amazing to me that I have the second-fastest time in Division III this year. I never thought I’d be able to get this far in my wildest dreams,” Andrews said. “It’s my fifth time going to nationals, but I still get the nerves about it. I need to get to a point where I’m not over-thinking every little thing and just run.”
Andrews has been managing a case of patella tendinitis all through the winter season, which has limited her to only a couple of events at each BSU track meet. She’s getting treatment every day and expects to be at her best when the starter’s gun goes off Friday afternoon.
Andrews will be chasing Wheaton College (Illinois) runner Favor Ezewuzie’s qualifying time of 8.72 seconds. The race should be close with five runners posting times between 8.72 and 8.80 this winter.
Andrews is making her fifth appearance at an NCAA Division III Track & Field Championship meet. She recorded her qualifying time at the NCAA Division III New England Championships on February 22nd.
As a freshman in 2016, Andrews placed 11th in the 400-meter dash at the indoor championships and tenth in the 400 at the outdoor championships. Last March, she finished 17th in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2018 indoor championships. At the 2018 outdoor championships, Andrews earned All-American honors with a second place finish in the 100-meter hurdles and finished 13th in the 400.
Andrews currently holds eight individual school records at Bridgewater State (along with three relay marks). She is the Bears indoor record holder in the 55-meter hurdles (8.50), 60-meter hurdles (8.74), long jump (17′6.75″), 200-meter dash (26.37) and 400-meter dash (57.14), as well as the outdoor record holder in the 100-meter hurdles (14.27), 400-meter hurdles (1:01.37) and 400-meter dash (55.76).