Jan. 30, 2018
By Brad Muller | More Features
Jordan Fields has something to prove. The sophomore, who competes in the pentathlon, wasn’t happy with her performance during her rookie indoor season, and then missed all of the outdoor season due to illness. After setting personal bests in the high jump at her first two meets this January, Fields is determined to keep getting better.
“Coming into college, I had high expectations,” Fields said. “Freshman year was rough, mentally and physically. This year, I felt like I needed to come in and make my mark.”
Her personal bests included a leap of 1.85 meters in the high jump to lead the field at the Clemson Invitational where she finished second overall in the pentathlon. That mark is the second best in NCAA competition so far this year. She also has the fourth best mark in the world for the pentathlon in the early part of the season. Those numbers put her in the conversation for national contention.
“It makes me feel good, but I’m not satisfied,” Fields said of her early success this year. “Everything is still up in the air. I know I can clear another bar, maybe two more bars. I just try to stay calm and stay humble.”
Following an outstanding high school career in Jacksonville, Fla., Fields was South Carolina’s top performer in the pentathlon during the indoor season as freshman, but she wasn’t satisfied.
“After my first meet, I cried,” Fields said. “It was frustrating because I was used to always being in the mix for the top spots in competitions. It was a tough year, mentally. It was a shock, but I needed it.”
I’ve got my confidence back and my love for the sport.
She was unable to build on that during last year’s outdoor season after coming down with mononucleosis. Not being able to compete added to her frustration.
“I lost confidence, and I lost a little bit of love for the sport,” Fields said. “I didn’t believe in myself at all. Eventually, it made me realize how important track was to me. It was a wake-up call in how much it meant to me and how good I wanted to be. I was always there supporting my teammates. It was tough, but watching them progress was helpful to me.”
Fields credits her teammates, coaches, and family in helping her believe in herself again.
“My dad was always telling me, ‘you can do this, you just have to be patient,’” Fields said. “My coaches had me get in the weight room, and they helped me get stronger, physically, and they wanted me to get mentally stronger as well.
“The biggest challenge was making sure I stayed focused. My main goal was to be able to contribute to the team. Not being able to contribute and be a scorer last year, I took that really hard.”
As she became healthy again, Fields used her time wisely to work hard on cardio and plyometrics, as well as her confidence.
“I prayed a lot, too,” Fields said. “Coach Dee (Associate Head Coach Delethea Quarles) told me to work on strength, physically and mentally. She could tell I had a lot going on and helped me get all the drama out of my life. I needed to come in with a clean slate, and that’s what I did.”
With confidence restored, Fields has set goals for herself to reach the NCAA Championships in the pentathlon and the high jump.
“High jump is my favorite,” Fields said. “I just try to execute, and trust my training in practice. Every time I do a run-through, Coach is always telling me, ‘it looks good,’ and ‘just do what you do in practice and no one will out-jump you.’ It would mean the world to be on the podium at SECs or NCAAs. I might cry.
“It’s fun again. I’m healthy. I’m not at my full potential yet, but I feel like I’m back to where I was before. I’ve got my confidence back and my love for the sport.”
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