Track and field spotlight: Jordan Scott and Bridget Guy

A look at the lives of two Virginia track stars

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Both Jordan Scott and Bridget Guy will compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Junior Jordan Scott and senior Bridget Guy have been essential to the success of Virginia’s track and field program. Both Scott and Guy, along with junior transfer Brenton Foster, recently qualified for the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala. Both athletes have ambitious goals for their future, which they are positioned to achieve. Here is a glimpse into their backgrounds, track careers, interests and motivations, along with a review of their accomplishments thus far.

Jordan Scott

Born and raised in Jamaica — a country known for producing elite track athletes — Scott immersed himself in track culture at a young age. He began his career as a sprinter, but soon realized that he was “not as good as everybody else.” As a result, Scott decided to switch to jumping, a decision that proved to be beneficial for his career.

In his early teens, Scott began competing in both the high jump and the long jump, but during the equivalent of his sophomore year of high school, Scott’s coach introduced him to the triple jump. This was a game changer for Scott. Seeing almost immediate success, Scott recognized his ability and passion for the event. In his first meet competing as a triple jumper, Scott made a huge leap forward by achieving a mark that was, at the time, the third-best jump in the world for junior athletes.

“Starting triple jumping, my first year was okay being just introduced to the event,” Scott said. “When I started my second year, I found a major breakthrough.”

Always wanting to attend an American university, Scott’s triple jump success allowed him to attend Virginia on a track scholarship. He credits his coach back in Jamaica for developing him and giving him the opportunity to jump at the D1 collegiate level.

“My coach, from age seven all the way through high school, became a father figure, always looking out for me,” Scott said. “He, along with another mentor who also triple jumped at my high school and went to Princeton for track and field, exposed me to track scholarships and my capacity to use track to pave the way for my future.”

Coming to Virginia and leaving his Jamaican life behind, Scott found it hard at first to train without his two childhood coaches.

However, he quickly was able to adjust, a testament to the Virginia coaching staff. Scott quickly became comfortable under the tutelage of assistant coach Mario Wilson and volunteer assistant Wayne Northover. Wilson and Northover continue to communicate with Scott’s foundational coaches, creating a cohesive team approach, allowing Scott to perform to the best of his ability. 

“I have two coaches here, being Mario Wilson and Wayne Northover, who use a good cop, bad cop approach,” Scott said. “Coach Wilson is the one who gives me instruction, telling me what to do, and then I have Wayne, who breaks my jumps down into simpler terms.”

Off the track, Scott studies computer science and spends the majority of his free time bonding with his friends on the track team. Scott is kept constantly busy by the rigor of his track commitment, making track and academics his life here at Virginia.

Scott gets ready to race by going through his routine of warming up and listening to music, but never races without a special bracelet made by his sister. Scott wears it on his right ankle in honor of his friends and family back in Jamaica.

Looking ahead to the future, Scott’s immediate goal is to jump 16.95 meters, the qualification standard for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this upcoming summer. After winning the Jamaican National Championships last summer, Scott plans on extending his collegiate season for the second year in a row by competing on the professional circuit in meets such as the 2019 Pan American Games.

Wilson is highly optimistic that Scott’s training plan will serve him well throughout the remainder of his season.

“At the beginning of the fall, we came up with a plan that would include the World Championships as a possibility,” Wilson said. “We delayed the start of his training and limited his competitions. So far, the results have been very rewarding. Jordan is healthier than previous years at U.Va., which has allowed him to compete to his full potential.”

Bridget Guy

Guy comes from much closer — Greensburg, Pa. She started track and field in the seventh grade as a pole vaulter, which remains her main event.

Previously, Guy had been a gymnast and competed in both sports until her freshman year of high school. What led her to give track and field a try was the example of a few more senior gymnasts who had made a similar transition entering middle school. Despite her gymnastics pedigree, Guy’s pivot to pole vaulting was not easy.

“I think I was a late bloomer to the sport, only jumping around nine feet in middle school and not hitting 12 feet till my senior year of high school,” Guy said. 

Despite her slow progression, Guy still believed her gymnastics prepared her well for pole vaulting.

“In the big picture, my background enabled me to jump big when I need to,” Guy said.

A part of the program for five years now, Guy has formed a special relationship with Coach Wilson. He has grounded Guy in the technical aspects of pole vaulting and, outside of athletics, has become invested in her personal development.

“Coach Wilson sets a good example of how to be a good leader and you can tell he just cares,” Guy said.

Unfortunately for Guy, she sat out most of her junior year with a back injury. Not seeing major success until her senior year, Guy reflected on the difficult transition she made in competing in the indoor season.

“I felt like I was behind and needed to catch up,” Guy said. “I went into indoor with a lot of expectations. I was able to work with Dr. Freeman from sports psychology and 

Coach Wilson to re-work my frame of mind. Letting go of the fear of thinking that you were not going to be as good as you were before injury really helped.”

Outside of competition, the senior completed her undergraduate degree in May of 2018 with a major in French and minor in entrepreneurship. Currently, Guy is doing a one-year masters program at the Curry School of Education, focusing on intercollegiate athletic administration. She is also interning with the Curry Foundation and co-directing a student giving campaign with her former teammate, Carter Green.

In her free time, Guy loves to get her nails done, eat good food and spend time with family and friends. As a pre-race ritual, Guy always jumps with braided hair. Mostly, Guy conducts a mellow pre-race routine, wanting to remain calm, relaxed and confident, without hyping herself up too far in advance.

Heading into NCAA Championships this weekend, Wilson believes that Guy is ready to make a big jump, shown from her consistency this indoor season.

“Bridget has continued to progress from her outstanding outdoor season from 2018,” Wilson said. “Her consistency has been key to multiple meets above 14 feet during the current indoor season.”

Heading into outdoor season and beyond, Guy is setting her sights on breaking 15 feet. She hopes the mark will propel her to become the individual ACC and NCAA outdoor pole vault champion.

For both Scott and Guy, their work ethic and commitment to trusting the process, as well their embodiment of what it means to be a great teammate, have built the foundation for their successes both on and off the track. Their consistent approach to training and their development from young athletes to the point where they are today is something for all aspiring track athletes to admire and emulate.

Up next, look for both athletes to represent Virginia March 8 and 9 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

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