Confidence is what makes Jorgensen a track phenom

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    By MELANIE BRIDGE

    Windy Jorgensen has learned that believing in yourself and a lot of hard work equal great success on and off the athletic field.

    At the indoor WAC track championships, Jorgensen broke the BYU record in the 55 meters with a time of 6.81 seconds. It was the cumulation of four years of hard work for the women’s track and field team.

    “I’ve wanted to break (the record) for so long. I finally quit worrying about it and then I made it,” Jorgensen said.

    Besides breaking records, Jorgensen was recently honored as a Cougar Club Scholar Athlete for having a GPA above 3.5.

    Jorgensen grew up in American Fork as the daughter of the local club and high school track coach. Ever since she can remember, Jorgensen has wanted to run track, but her father would not let her start until she was 8 years old.

    “He was afraid I was too young, but I wanted to do it so bad, so he finally let me,” Jorgensen said.

    In her first year at the North Valley Track Club, Jorgensen qualified for the national championships in Florida for her age group. However, her parents felt she was still too young to travel long distances, so she did not attend.

    Jorgensen now helps to coach the club she started with at age eight. Her father is the head coach, but she said she will probably take over the whole team next summer. With her coaching minor and early childhood education major, Jorgensen would like to be involved in coaching and physical education for many years to come.

    At American Fork High School, Jorgensen never lost a race. She competed in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays. During her four years in high school, she earned 16 state championships. That’s one in each race, each year. Jorgensen gives a lot of credit to her team though. On her relay team were BYU teammates world-record holder Tiffany Lott and All-American Melinda Hale.

    “Having the great team that I had helped me showcase my abilities better to give me the chance to come to BYU,” Jorgensen said.

    When she first considered colleges, Jorgensen wanted to go anywhere but BYU because it was too close to her home. However, a bad experience on a recruiting trip to Washington changed her attitude. While at Washington she went to a party with some of the girls on the track team. They belittled her because of her beliefs.

    “I don’t like to be mocked because I made a choice,” Jorgensen said.

    After her trip Jorgensen called Kentucky and Florida and told them she had decided to go to BYU. She chose BYU because she knew she needed to be in a good atmosphere.

    A big influence on her decision was head coach Craig Poole. During her senior year in high school, while Jorgensen never lost a race, she did not improve on her times either. Some schools began to think she was washed up. Poole, however, knew that she had potential and she just needed to reach it, Jorgensen said.

    Coming to college wasn’t the wonderful experience she expected right away. In her first year, she gained weight and couldn’t seem to retain her form. The adjustment to living on her own and being one of the crowd instead of the star of the team also proved difficult. After her freshmen year, Jorgensen almost decided to give up.

    “The biggest thing was I just didn’t believe in myself,” Jorgensen said.

    However, with the encouragement of family, friends and coaches, Jorgensen’s attitude began to change. She started to work hard and believe in herself again.

    “She’s a hard worker about little things like her starts,” said fellow sprinter Becky Jackson. “She has to have it technically perfect.”

    This year Jorgensen is running the best she ever has. While she may have won or taken second at the WAC Championships in past years, this year she ran her best time ever. Jorgensen attributes her sixth place finish and faster time to better competition.

    “We have the strongest conference in the nation in sprints,” Jorgensen said.

    Jorgensen never finished in the top eight at Nationals, and only the top eight are named All-Americans. However, because non-American athletes finished ahead of her and they are not considered for All-American honors, Jorgensen has been named an All-American twice. This year she hopes, and Poole is confident, she can finish in the top eight on her own merits.

    Her record-breaking time at the WAC Championships automatically qualified Jorgensen for the NCAA National Championships for the first time ever. Before, she always waited by the phone for a call saying she had qualified on a provisional time.

    Jorgensen believes that she is will only improve on her confidence and racing ability. According to Poole, her competitors better watch out. “She’s dynamite in a small package,” he said.

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