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Jallycia Pearson, more than a hometown hero

Photo courtesy of UTEP Athletics
Jallycia Pearson finished attempts to get over the bar during the high jump portion of the heptathlon of the C-USA Conference Championships at Kidd Field.

When asked about Jallycia Pearson, the first thing that comes to UTEP track fans’ minds is hometown and crowd favorite–but there is much more to her than that. The senior heptathlon athlete is a conference champion, has competed at nationals and leaves UTEP with a lot to be proud of.

Born in Fort Bragg, N.C., Pearson attended high school in El Paso, where she started out with track and field. As a freshman at Coronado High School, her main focus had been playing basketball, but she expanded to track after fatherly advice.

“My dad said I should try it after basketball season,” Pearson said.

During her time as a Thunderbird, Pearson excelled. Among her many accomplishments, Pearson led her team to a 1-5 A District Championship in 2011. She did so by winning gold medals individually in the 100-metter hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and the triple jump. Her great performances that year would take her all the way to state competition.

Thanks to her success at Coronado, she was recruited to UTEP. Her versatility and experience with various events helped throughout her career as a Miner, especially in running the Heptathlon.

“I learned a lot,” Pearson said. “It helped with self-confidence and it taught me a lot.”

Pearson has progressively improved with time and training. She began her career with middle to last finishes in conference, but quickly improved to excel at conference championships and earned the chance to compete at the national level.

After a 10th-place finish at the Outdoor Conference USA Championships in the heptathlon her freshman year, Pearson improved to fourth as a sophomore and finally landed on the podium with a bronze medal as a junior.

Her finest hour in the orange and blue came as a senior. She is part of a group of historic Miner athletes. She was part of the team that won the Conference USA Indoor Conference Championship. She helped the team by winning the pentathlon title for that meet.

During the outdoor season, despite an injury, Pearson was named an All American in the heptathlon.

At the Outdoor Conference Championships, she led the heptathlon throughout until the last event. She ended in second place, but had a personal best throughout the competition. Her performance landed her a spot at the NCAA Championships.

Pearson has earned top-10 achievements in the triple jump, both for indoor and outdoor track competitions. She has finished as high as 15th nationally in the heptathlon, and this last season she ended her career in the top 25 for the heptathlon.

Pearson is not just an athlete; she is a great student as well. She was named to the USTFCCCA All Academic Honors, which means she had to have a GPA of a 3.25, and be able to rank nationally in the top 98.

“Being a student athlete was not easy,” Pearson said. “It helped me with my time management and my priorities–like should I go out or do my homework and all that.”

Pearson is working on a kinesiology major with a minor in biology. She may apply to a physical therapy program, but she is also an athlete who could compete after college if she were to remain healthy enough.

Pearson can look back at her career at UTEP with pride. She is an All-American with top-10 finishes nationwide, has set two school records and was an important piece ofwhat may be considered one of UTEP’s best women’s teams.

The Miners will surely miss her on the track.

“The people that I have met have really helped me. I’ve worked with a lot of people, specially people that aren’t from the state,” Pearson said. “I got to meet a lot of cool people from other countries that I will keep in touch with. It was a wonderful experience.”

Juan Carlos Navarrete may be reached at [email protected].

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Jallycia Pearson, more than a hometown hero