Women's Track

Q & A With UMass Track and Field Athlete Jordan Veney

Jordan has also been involved in basketball, soccer, and her high school's drum line.

Jordan has also been involved in basketball, soccer, and her high school's drum line.

April 20, 2006

Where are originally from?
I'm originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, site of the 2006 Super Bowl Champions.

Is it hard being so far away from home, especially where it's your freshman year?
Not really. I'm kind of a person who likes to travel far really from home. With all the traveling I've done, I feel like UMass is just a hop, skip, and jump away from my home. I feel like I can just call up and say "oh, come get me now." Although it is about 18 hours away driving, I don't feel its far and I don't feel homesick or anything else.

Do you have any siblings?
I have a younger sister who's fifteen. She's in track also and in the ninth grade. I think we've gotten closer since I've been so far away from home.

What's the biggest difference between Pennsylvania and Amherst?
For example, I was in Amherst, and I got wind burned for the first time. I thought it was a sunburn, but the sun wasn't out. I think the weather's the biggest difference even though it's probably just a couple degrees difference. But when its cold, it's cold. But otherwise, the people are nice, just like Pittsburg, so I enjoy it.

What brought you to UMass, was it initially track?
Mostly it was track. I really didn't think about other things besides track. My life revolved around track and the coaching. I have such a great coach and he [Coach Bob Otrando] really brought me here. His dedication to me and to improving how I am and my technique, he really pumped me up to do better.

Were you interested in any other schools?
I was kind of just like, oh you know, sign some papers, fill out some applications. I was interested in Michigan State University and other division one schools around my house, New England, and the south. But it was ultimately UMass. Like I said before, my coach was always calling me after every meet, and he was really dedicated to having me come here. I figured if someone is putting that amount of time into me and they don't even know me, then what's going to happen when I get here.

Have you always been involved in track? How did you get started in it?
I just got asked that question and I really don't know. I have vague memories of being back in eighth grade and just throwing a metal ball and thinking "oh this is fun, I can sit and eat pizza and get in the circle, and I don't have to run." My friends were mostly involved with it; I had no clue what it was. Then in ninth grade I was like, wow, okay this is fun. And I just kept getting better and better and then towards my junior and senior year I started setting goals for myself and I reached them.

Are there any other sports that you've been involved in growing up?
Laughs. I can go down the list. I was involved in probably about 99% of my school's sports programs. I've played many things, a little bit of basketball, indoor track, soccer, drum line, just anything you can think of. It was fun. I'm a jock, basically.

How was your experience in your high school's drum line?
Oh wow. Carrying around a 60 pound drum during the hottest times of the year and wearing a hot uniform and in the mud and in the rain really showed how dedicated you could be to something. I enjoyed being involved with a team, wanting to win, learning new things and experiences. Getting through all the hard parts and struggling through it, and in the end finding out that I finally did this is worth it. It's something to be proud of basically and using my background in sports and teams, and individual things, made me who I am today. It made me have an open mind about different things.

Did you ever do any competitions involving the drum line?
Oh gosh yes. We probably had about two or three a week. We went everywhere. We went to different states and different parts of the country. Our drum line was one of the best in the country and we worked really hard. Once you work that hard for something, you begin to set goals and go after them. It gave me that mind set that I have today. I can't ever regret doing anything I've done.

Do you find it hard to balance track with all your school work?
It's so weird because I came here and was told to take 12 credits. I was like, oh okay, how many classes are 12 credits? They said 3 or 4 and I'm like, 3 or 4 classes? I'm so used to having 3 sports a year, 8 classes on my plate in high school and then I come here I have 18 credits. I have science classes, math classes, and all these other different classes. My coach is really accommodating and we work around things so it's basically all about time management. If you have that, then that's the key to everything.

What do you plan on majoring at UMass?
As of now, its geosciences. If you see me walking around campus, just look for the person that always has a stick in her hands and picks up random rocks. I probably have about 45 rocks in my room. People walk in are like, wow, I just walked into a jungle.

Why did you pick geosciences as a major?
I really don't know. I came here and it just seemed really interesting. I've taken probably about three or four geosciences classes so far and I like the classes. But I'm the type of person to change my mind a lot so I'll probably be a geosciences major and then an English major next year. You never know.

What's the hardest part about being an athlete?
The hardest part for me is lifting. I've never lifted before and people are like, oh but you're so strong, you're so good at lifting. And then I'm like, really, because I'm not feeling too good. There's so much do, you have to practice constantly and lift constantly. I'm so used to ordering pizza to my shot out circle, and just sitting down and eating and not practicing or doing anything. It's the same thing with academics, it's all about time management with my practice schedule, my lifting schedule, when I'm eating, and how I'm working out.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself after college or further down the road?
I have no clue. I change my mind so much. I'm really interesting in being in the FBI with a geosciences degree. I've been looking into FBI tests and what to do. I see myself definitely in graduate school because I can't see myself out of school. I love school.

What are your interests other than track? What do you like to do in your free time?
I'm such a laid back person, I like to do everything. You won't find me at many parties though, I'm not a partier. I'll go, but I'm kind of like the wallflower. I like making a fool out of myself. I love singing horribly in front of big groups dressed as something absurd. I just like making people laugh. I'm really laid back, anything appeases me.

Your current outdoor season is going very well. How do you feel on the season? Is there anything that you want to improve on?
Everyone says it's going well and I'm so frustrated. I have high expectations for myself and put a lot of pressure on myself. I know I can do better. It's kind of like when you work so hard for something and little by little you're getting where you want to be, but you know you can do better even though you're happy with what you're doing. I'm kind of in between. I have a lot of goals. I definitely want to go to the Olympics. I do think I have the ability to go. I just want to set a goal and see if I can make it there. I would definitely want to do a lot better in my college career. It's so different because when you come from high school, you have a lot of meets. You have about 4 meets and they last about 2 hours, and then you're gone and you can do whatever you want. But the transition from high school to college is that you have one meet a week, and it lasts for 8 hours. I could be throwing for six hours and by the end of the last event it's really a struggle and that's where your dedication and perseverance comes in because you have to have the endurance. It keeps you positive because when you're done, you know that you've done a good job. The question is, can you walk away saying that you've done your best.




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