Jordan McClendon takes 3rd @NBIN despite concussion
Friday, March 27, 2015 Chris Auckley
St. Louisan and John Burroughs School senior Jordan McClendon took third in the weight throw at the 2015 New Balance High School Indoor Track and Field Nationals in New York City, Sunday, March 15. The future Tulane University student-athlete did so despite suffering a concussion when a car rear-ended the car she and her parents were in the day before.
McClendon said she suffered whiplash and her third concussion because of the accident. While the injury kept her from watching fellow St. Louis thrower Sophia Rivera win the shot put on Saturday, March 14, it couldn’t keep her from earning All-American honors.
McClendon is the 2014 Missouri Class 3 state champion in the shot put with a 43-8.75 (PR of 44-9.25) and runner-up in the discus at 140-5 (PR of 141-2). McClendon started working with private coach Gary Cooper of Troy a little over a year ago on the weight throw and hammer throw. She competed in the weight throw last year and this year at the Mizzou-Big River Running High School Indoor Track and Field Series.
After disappointing finishes at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals track and field meet in June of 2014, and the change in MSHSAA by-laws allowing athletes to compete in two events during the regular high school season, McClendon made plans to compete at the New Balance Indoor meet at the beginning of the school year. “Ever since…New Balance Outdoors I wanted a chance to redeem myself… and prove myself. It would (be) a nice closure to my last indoor meet, and high school (indoor) career,”’ she said.
On her first attempt, McClendon threw the weight 55-0.75, while her second was 55-9.75. She fouled on her four final attempts, but her best throw earned her third-place. She wasn’t completely happy with her performance. “It went, for the most part, really well. I get hard on myself. I wanted to win, very badly. I struggled with a specific aspect of my technique, and I wasn’t able to completely get it together, until my last few throws. It didn’t completely come together the way I wanted to. Overall it was a really good experience. The armory is a really awesome place to compete at. There is so much happening all at once…”
McClendon wasn’t satisfied with third-place, but will accept the All-American honors. “I guess under the circumstances that I was in, third place was fine. But I was really hoping to PR (set personal record). My best is a little over 57, I was hoping to PR, I really wanted to hit 60, but I guess it didn’t work out that well.”
The concussion had its effect on the John Burroughs senior, leaving her a little frazzled and making it hard to focus. “…yeah, it was a little frustrating,” she said. It’s kind of a weird situation… My body wasn’t completely ready to compete… so it was frustrating, but also I understand why I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do.”
Despite the concussion and disappointment, McClendon said it was a good experience. “It helped me realize that…almost every track meet is the same, if you think about it… You are competing against yourself over and over again. So regardless of scale, every track meet, you should approach it the same; mentality, intensity, determination, regardless of who your competition is … or how much better the competition is. Even if it is on the national scale. It’s reassuring to go into college knowing that those meets aren’t going to feel any different than a small quad-meet at your (high school). You’re not going to compete any different. You should go in with the same determination and intensity, mindset and focus, for any caliber of meet.”
While McClendon’s goals for the outdoor season are to break the state meet class records in the shot put and discus, she is going to enjoy some time relaxing. She will spend a few days recovering from her concussion on a spring break trip to Cancun, Mexico.