For the Independent
From the very beginning, it was clear to Elmira District Secondary School Coach Melanie Austin that Jasmine Wilson possessed natural talent when it came to throwing javelin.
That natural talent has led to Wilson receiving a scholarship to attend the Northern Illinois University.
As Austin explained it, when Wilson started throwing javelin in Grade 10, it quite quickly became clear that she was a natural. She also had the opportunity to train alongside another scholarship recipient for javelin, Melissa Blake, which helped to give her the drive for excellence.
Austin was approached by Ron Gilbert of College Prospects of America (CPOA), a company that works alongside young athletes to help secure scholarships, as he was looking for potential volleyball talent, but Austin said he needed to look at Wilson.
Gilbert and CPOA work together with athletes to come up with a one-page profile of their statistics, similar to a resume that is then sent to universities that are best suited to them. Gilbert said that academics are very important to these schools; they are not only looking for an athlete but a successful student as well.
Wilson fared well on both counts.
She cited academics of one of her main deciding factors in choosing the Northern Illinois University.
The university flew her down to tour the campus in Dekalb, Illinois on what was her first trip to the United States. Wilson said that the immediately liked the atmosphere of the school and the immense school spirit which made her feel like it could be her home for the next four of five years.
Although academics will be her main focus, her training regimen will not slow down. Wilson says her week will consist of five standard practices that consist of javelin training as well as three lifting practices focused on weight lifting and strength building. This is so that Wilson can compete in the many meets that she will be taking part in all across the United States. She says that her current goal is to make it to the Junior Pan-Am Games taking place this year in Peru.
Aside from training at school, Wilson has also been training with Waterloo Athletics Club, a group focused on javelin training and skill development. Wilson trained with them for the last year and a half with a focus on developing her technical skill as her coach Ian Morton, of the Waterloo Athletics Club, says her raw talent very impressive.
“She has so much talent, we’ve just scratched the surface,” said Morton.
Morton said that while the current lack of track and field facilities in the region has made outdoor training difficult, it has not inhibited Wilson’s talents from growing. Morton attributes her recent bronze-medal finish at the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships to her combination of natural talent and technical skill.
Morton said he has bittersweet feelings about seeing Wilson move on, but knows that going south of the border is the best opportunity for her to follow her passion for javelin as well as pursue her academic future.