Harding takes a leap to St. Joseph’s

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Harding takes a leap to St. Joseph’s

Jaclyn Harding

Jaclyn Harding

Jaclyn Harding

Jaclyn Harding

John Vassiliou, Editor

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When senior Jaclyn Harding attended a track & field clinic in elementary school, she was not aware that she would be setting herself up on a path that would lead her to obtain scholarships for the sport over a decade later.

    Harding began working toward her achievements in track in the 4th grade, signing up for a clinic to practice doing “high jumps.” Though it started as just a fun extracurricular activity, she became more invested in the activity in 6th grade.

     “I was really just doing it for fun in 6th grade and all my friends were doing stuff so I said ‘oh I’ll join it.’ [I] definitely [didn’t] think that I’d do it in high school. I’d probably [have thought that] I’d quit,” Harding said.

    However, it soon evolved into more than just a hobby.

     “In 7th and 8th grade I’d always win the 200. It would just be my event. I would go undefeated every event, for the two seasons. [So I said to myself] ‘alright I like this’ and then I stuck with it,” Harding said.

     Moving into high school, Harding began to work with other athletes in certain events, forming a bond with her teammates in her underclassmen years.

     “With the relay it’s a really big team. You get together in practices to practice handing off the baton. That was a really good set of girls, and a really talented set of girls; it was just nice to be part of that,” Harding said.

     Her impressive achievements began to draw the attention of multiple colleges come her junior year. Among them were Umass Amherst and Assumption College. However, in the end, Harding decided that St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania was her prime choice.

     “I kinda preferred to be in Pennsylvania from the beginning. I also have family that’s right in Philly too so that’s nice. And when I went there [it] really felt like home, it’s a nice school, the teachers are really really nice, the team was really nice – even walking around campus the people are nice, they say ‘hi’ and it’s a really nice campus,” Harding said.

     Getting the lay of the land for college sports wasn’t easy, requiring a lot of out of school trips, that frequently clashed with classwork.

     “It was really hard because I had to miss a lot of school to go on these overnights that you spend with a teammate, so that was a little difficult. I’d just go to my teachers a week before and I’d get the work that I had to do and I’d do that on my overnights,” Harding said.

     Harding is confident that she found the right school for her, assessing the friendly attitude of the campus coaches and other staff, along with the genial student environment. She is looking forward to her first year of college and is grateful that all her hard work has paid off.

     “Usually I quit sports, I quit a lot of sports; I just decided to stick with this one,” Harding said.

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