Freshman blazes trails
In just her first season competing at the varsity level for the Grand Valley track and field program, freshman runner Jordyn Pittman has left her mark in a big way, setting Grand Valley’s school record in the 100m dash with a time of 12.94 seconds, while also turning in the fastest times of the season in the 200m (27.35 seconds), 400m (59.71), 800m (2:37) and the 1600m (6:02).
Considering it’s her first year with the varsity program, that’s quite impressive for Pittman. While the times in the events look nice on paper, Pittman is most proud of qualifying for the 3A state meet Thursday through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood in the 400m and the 3200m individual events, as well as the 4×200 and 4×400 relay events.
In fact, the first time Pittman ever ran the 400m event this season, she turned in the qualifying time of 1:01.02 before then topping it at the multi-league championship meet at Stocker Stadium two weeks ago, winning the event with a time of 59.71 seconds, good for the No. 6 seed in the event at the state meet.
“I was pretty surprised, to be honest,” Pittman said. “I was really happy to turn in that time in the event. I didn’t know what to think at first when I found out that I qualified for the four events as a freshman. It’s been fun this year; I love being part of this team, and they’ve really pushed me this year.”
In the 400m, Pittman has a great shot at reaching the podium, which is something not many freshman get a chance to do, especially in an event that they just pick up in a given season.
Getting involved in the 400m event actually came at the recommendation of Grand Valley coaches, considering Pittman is more of a sprinter at heart, but this season she’s really emerged as a long-distance runner, as evidenced by the events she qualified for state in.
“I loved the 100 and 200 sprints, so my coach said I should try the 400,” Pittman said. “I had been sprinting for much of the year, but I love to just run, so my coach had me try the 400 before then bumping up to the 800, mile and 2-mile. I turned out to be pretty good at the 400. What I like about the 400 is just going super-fast. Going around the track three and four times can be really boring, so going around once is a lot more fun for me. Sprinting the whole time for that one lap is fun for me, but it’s really hard.”
Competing locally all season long against some of the same runners was an adjustment Pittman had to make early on, but that adjustment will be multiplied exponentially at the state meet where thousands of people are in attendance at a given time. Add into the mix going against runners one hasn’t competed against all year and it can get pretty overwhelming for even the most experienced runners.
For Pittman though, she’s just excited to get a chance to be there.
“I’m really excited for the 4×400 relay event,” Pittman said. “But I’m just really excited for the competition. We didn’t get a chance to go to state in basketball, but it’s pretty much the same teammates for me from basketball to track. I think it will be a lot of fun getting the chance to experience this with them. But I just really want to see how the people I’m running against run the race and how they attack it. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Pittman will compete in the 200m heat at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night before running the 3200m final at 10:10 a.m. Friday morning.
Pittman will then compete in the 4×200 and 4×400 relay heats at 3:25 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. Friday afternoon hoping to reach the finals in all four events.
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