Sports

Freshman London Jarrett has big dreams with H-F track

London Jarrett is a freshman.

The Homewood-Flossmoor sprinter, hurdler and jumper knows that. If she didn’t, older opponents don’t mind telling her with pre-race chirps.

“They look at the start and say ‘She’s just a freshman. She’s not that good,’” Jarrett said. “I just look and say ‘OK.’” 

Only a freshman, London Jarrett is already making waves with Homewood-Flossmoor girls track. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

But when Jarrett wins the race or out jumps the field, the people tend to stop talking.

“You can never doubt somebody like that, just cause they’re younger than you,” she said. “I feel really motivated by that. All that’s going to do is push me to be a better track athlete.”

Vikings coach Tywon Green calls Jarrett a talented, driven athlete who’s willing to do whatever she can for the team. He thinks she’s already capable of being on the podium in three different events this season.

“The sky’s the limit for the kid,” he said. “The goal is medals. That’s the only goal she has.” 

She’s got the times to warrant that kind of talk. Her personal bests include a 26.8-second 200-meter dash, a 16.5 in the 100-meter hurdles, a 5-foot 1-inch high jump and a 17-foot 5-inch long jump. 

It’s a lot for one 15-year-old. 

“You have to have a good mindset and tell yourself that you can try new things,” Jarrett said. “You got to wake up every day. You got to train every day. It’s going to be hard sometimes but you have to just get the right mindset to do it.” 

In her mind, Jarrett’s a sprinter and a jumper. If she had to pick one event, it would be the high jump. The most fun, though, is hurdling.

She ran her first 300-meter hurdles race April 9 in a tri-meet with Lincoln-Way Central and Andrew. Despite stumbling and falling, she took first at 49.76 seconds. 

“None of my coaches ever thought about putting me in hurdles in the first place until I spoke up, my mom spoke up and my dad spoke up,” she said. “It felt like I was a 300 hurdler. For me to get a 49, and I stuttered to the first hurdle and I fell in my race, I feel like that’s really good.” 

Jarrett’s the kind of athlete that coaches will allow to try things out. She qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in multiple events as an eighth grader, turning in the 6th-best time in the 100 hurdles and the 4th-best high jump.

She’s accustomed to doing more than one thing well. 

“People are counting on you to get points and help the team win,” she said. “It’s a little pressure but if you calm yourself down, give your effort and give your all, that’s all that matters.”

Jarrett is just one of several promising Vikings freshmen. Green, who’s in his first season at H-F, said it’s the perfect group to establish a foundation for a program.

“When I took this job, I was kind of excited with the pipeline that the Homewood-Flossmoor area has. The history of the track program here has always been good,” he said. “(Jarrett) and that entire freshman class, they’re all very talented. They’re making huge impacts this year, and they’re all very hungry. I think the future of H-F track is pretty good.” 

The ninth-grade class includes sprinter Aniya Mullins, sprinter/hurdler/jumper Kaiya Collier, sprinter/hurdler Diaymond Childress and sprinter London Willingham, among others. 

All that youthful ability can be difficult to manage, Green said. Most of them are more than capable in multiple events. Jarrett, for example, runs both hurdle events, the 200-meter dash, legs of the 800 and 1,600-meter dashes, the high jump and the long jump.

The plan is to let Jarrett focus on jumping at some meets, sprinting at others and hurdling when necessary. 

“It’s a good problem to have,” Green said. “The problem with her is, she’s so competitive that she doesn’t want to sit out. She doesn’t want a break. We have to dial her back a little bit, let her know she’s only a freshman and she’s got time.” 

When Jarrett’s time at Homewood-Flossmoor is up, she wants to be remembered as one the all-time athletes from the school. 

“I want to be known,” she said. “For me to be running these junior, senior times a freshman, just imagine where I’ll be as a senior.”

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