From kills at the net in volleyball to driving down the lane for an easy lay up in basketball, Borger senior J’Cee Pool has put together a stellar resume in athletics during her time in high school.
However, there was one goal she wanted to accomplish before she walked across the stage a graduation: qualify for the state track meet in the shot put.
Coming up just short of a state berth last year served as good motivation in preparing to compete in the shot put this year, with Pool commenting, “Making it to state is something I have always wanted to do, so when I finished in fourth place at regionals last year, I knew I had the ability to make it this year if I worked hard.”
Fortunately for Pool, the goal was accomplished, but achieving the berth at state came in a dramatic fashion.
After holding the Panhandle area’s best measured throw of the spring, at 41-8 1/2, Pool struggled in her first several throws at regionals, throwing 35-10 1/2, a 37-2 and 39-4 ½.
In watching her struggles, Borger Head Girls Track Coach Leslie Young said, “It was really tough to watch because for some reason J’Cee was dealing with some of the issues that hadn’t been seen since earlier in the season.”
Thankfully, Pool was able to put it together in her final throws by landing a 40-5 mark that was good enough to take second place at regionals and earn her a trip to state in the shot put.
What is interesting in talking to Pool about how she qualified for state in the shot put is the excitement Pool displays from the berth in the shot put.
It can be easy to forget that Pool dominated the competition to take first place in the discus the day before, allowing her to qualify for the state track meet in two events.
While beating her nearest competition by nearly 17 feet at regionals is impressive enough, Pool accomplished the feat in her first year competing in the event.
The idea for Pool to compete in the discus came from Borger Athletic Director Rusty Purser, with Pool recalling, “Before the season, Coach Purser suggested I try competing in the discus but I really wasn’t sure about it because I would have to give up competing in another event. It took until about the third track meet before I started getting the hang of it and now it is something I have enjoyed competing in.”
In the excitement of finally reaching the state track meet, it would be easy to wonder if Pool could get too caught up in the moment and not compete at her best.
However Pool has a different take, saying, “I think I perform my best when there is a lot of pressure, so I think I will be able to enjoy the whole experience and still be able to compete well.”
Young added, “I told J’Cee that there is nothing like competing at the state meet. It has been 30 years and I can still remember my own experience competing in it. J’Cee has worked hard to earn this opportunity so I expect her to make the most of it.”
Young also said Pool won’t be alone at the state track meet with plenty of family and support from the school expected to be in Austin cheering her on.
In looking at the marks the other state qualifiers have put up in both events, Pool enters the meet with the potential to leave Austin with a medal by currently holding some of the top marks compared to the other competition she will go against in Austin.
As the senior year is wrapping up, Pool said she hopes to be able to continue competing in track and field at the collegiate level and plans on studying to perhaps become a pediatrician.
But for this week, Pool main objective is to make the most of reaching the final athletic goal before she graduates.
Pool is scheduled to compete in the 3A Girls Discus on Friday morning and the 3A Girls Shot Put on Friday evening at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.