43 Second Wednesday - Jessica Beard
May 25, 2011 by Jay Hicks
Few, if any have accomplished as much. Jessica Beard has been exceptional. Brilliant. An integral part of a growing dynasty who helped bring the “sprint” title to Texas A&M.
The A&M senior 400 meter runner walks us down deciding to go to Aggie Land, being teammates with some incredible athletes and looks down the road to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and U.S. Outdoor Championships.
PreRaceJitters: Wow, what a meet you had at Big 12 Outdoor Championships. How awesome is it to win the women’s and men’s team titles while taking the 4×400 relay?
Jessica: The feeling is the best one. Even though I did not win the individual title, coming into the meet knowing that it would take the entire team was a great aspect to focus on and it challenged us under pressure to see what we would do and how well we could perform.
Going out and winning both titles my last year, was a wonderful experience, knowing that the seniors had something memorable we could leave with. When we put different people on the relay, it’s always good to see how we can perform so I was very pleased with the way all the girls stepped up and won.
PreRaceJitters: While we are on the subject of history, did you originally come to College Station with plans on re-writing the Aggie record books while at the same time being part of changing the landscape of college sprinting to Aggie Land?
Jessica: I never had a plan to come in and change or re-write anything, I just came in with high hopes of getting better and improving and trying to one day win my own individual title and most definitely a relay and team title.
I just knew that I was in good hands with Coach Henry’s resume, and Coach Anderson’s personality, and I just wanted to come in and prove that I could make the transition and become a better person and athlete.
PreRaceJitters: Why did you leave Ohio for college?
Jessica: TOO COLD!!! Lol, all of my choices were in the south or somewhere warmer than Ohio.
PreRaceJitters: Do you do any workouts with the Aggie 400m men Tabarie Henry and Demetrius Pinder?
Jessica: Lol. No I don’t. They’re very competitive in practice, I like to work on myself and at whatever pace Coach tells us, so I don’t think I could keep that focus or keep up! They’re two of the world’s best.
PreRaceJitters: The NCAA championships, running with great athletes like Porscha Lucas and Gabby Mayo and for coach great coaches - Texas A&M has worked out for you?
Jessica: Yes, A&M has worked out so well for me. When you come into a program, you are not sure what is in store, or how the people and environment will be. Even in the toughest times and through little disputes, I can say that I always have my teammates and they will always have my back.
We encourage each other and we come together like no other during Championships. I have to say that Coach Anderson, is a Coach like no other. He takes the time to learn who we are as athletes, students, and individuals, and that’s a tough job for an assistant coach! Coach Henry tells you what you need to hear, always there to relieve little stresses and always finds ways to motivate us when needed the most!
From Gabby and Porscha, I’ve mainly learned that injury can not keep a talented woman down for long, they’ve bounced back in more ways than one and that is something I keep in mind when things don’t go as predicted.
PreRaceJitters: Speaking of which, what is Gabby Mayo like as a college teammate?
Jessica: Hmmmmmmm. Lol, no Gabby is the crazy one! Loves to compete and loves to proves others wrong, when she thinks she’s right.
I lived with her my freshman year and she loves Fresh Prince! So that tells you she has that goofy side as well. Sweet girl for the most part (just don’t make her mad on the track, she shows out and performs well! Lol).
PreRaceJitters: You’ve earned three NCAA silver medals in the 400 meters? What would winning an outdoor national championship mean to you?
Jessica: Winning the Outdoor NCAA crown would make the indoor one even better. Along with a faster time or pr would be icing on the cake. I just want my senior year to be as memorable as possible.
I’m just going to go out there and give my last race all I have. And if that aids in becoming 3 time national champions, I know that would be the biggest blessing God could ever grant us!
PreRaceJitters: Another year, another championship banner. What does this team need to do to defend its team title in NCAAs?
Jessica: The team needs to focus on the team. We need to qualify to the best of our abilities and compete with courage and heart. We need to make finals and do the unexpected!
We need to listen to our coaches and to our supporters. We need to do what we’ve been doing all year, just at a deeper level. We need to remember who we are and why we came to nationals. We need to be Texas A&M, and nobody else.
PreRaceJitters: Does being a senior on a team coming off of back-to-back championship change the way you prepare?
Jessica: Not really. I don’t think you can just step up and try to be a different person at NCAA or any other big meet, than you are everyday in front of your teammates or how you act towards your teammates.
I think you just have to come with the mindset that this is a new year, a different combination of people, and everyone who has come this far can make it. You just try to improve the little things that you’ve been working on all year, and put it all together.
PreRaceJitters: In 2009, you earned a gold medal as a part of the Team USA 4×400 meter relay competing in Berlin. How does that experience come into play as you stare down a NCAA Outdoor Championships and a U.S. Outdoor Championships in a World Championship year?
Jessica: Well that happened after NCAA but it does show me that I have a big role when it comes to the 4×4 on the collegiate level and that I’m very capable of fulfilling it.
That experience was my first ever, so it was a learning process and I definitely believe that it will help me this year as I go into another World Championship year.
PreRaceJitters: So far, you’ve run 50.79 in your career. Is a sub-50 second 400 meters is within reach?
Jessica: With God ALL things are possible to him [her] that believe. Sometimes focusing on time could be a hindrance instead of a stepping stone. Indoor I just focused on my goals, and I plan to do that outdoor.
I will just have to wait and see what God has in store for me, and hopefully it’s a new PR.
PreRaceJitters: What do you do to wind down?
Jessica: I really just hang out with my teammates and cook and go to the movies. I like to read also in my spare time, but other than that, I just sleep! Lol.
PreRaceJitters: This is kind of a tough question to toss at you at the very end, but can you somehow give us a glimpse of what it means to represent America on the National Team two years ago, and try for the World Championships this year?
Jessica: That year will always be special. Running at the Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens won his four gold medals, and him growing up in Cleveland Ohio, I don’t think I could really ever put that experience into words, but it was amazing for me, especially since it was my first team.
Now I want to do the same thing, each year, I just want to get better and improve. I believe if I do that, then my chances at another memorable experience will be just around the corner. Each experience is a lesson and hopefully I continue to learn from them!
PreRaceJitters: Thanks for your time and best wishes with the remainder of your season.
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