All it takes is one good year.
Juan Jordan officially announced his intention to sign with Hardin-Simmons University on Friday, May 18 after a season of “firsts” for the senior track athlete.
This year, Jordan competed in five events at the district track meet, winning the 100-meter dash while advancing to the area meet in the 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump for the first time in his high school career. Jordan topped his district performance by surpassing his personal bests in all four events, advancing to the Region IV-4A meet in all four events.
“Last year I had a bad year and the year before that… every year I got to district and it was just like, I fall on my face, nothing happened correctly. And then this year everything fell together perfectly,” Jordan said. “Each event, this year, it’s not just district, every single meet I was going I was getting faster and faster, my times were dropping so much every meet I was going to, everything was working out really well. I think it was a lot fun.”
“Juan Jordan is special,” Gonzales head coach Cully Doyle said after the area meet in late April, “not just track, just a special kid, a special person. Just sitting here, I can sit here and talk a whole newspaper, not just an article, and fill up on Juan Jordan and he deserves it. He’s come a long ways. He’s lived a life of opportunities to go the wrong way and a lot of kids have chosen the wrong path and he’s chosen the right path, he’s chosen to be around the positive influences and Coach [Kevin] Johnson has done a good job with him. We’re super crazy proud of that kid.”
Although Jordan wasn’t able to qualify for the state track meet, his improvement impressed coaches and Jordan was able to live out the dream of attending Hardin-Simmons University.
“Hardin-Simmons was the number one [school] I wanted to go to,” Jordan said. “Getting there was a tough process. It was my number one school. Angelo State was my Plan B and for a little while I was like, ‘OK I guess I’m not going to Hardin-Simmons,’ until now. It’s pretty official. I’m real excited about that. To have the opportunity.”
“It can happen if you keep your mind right and work hard,” Doyle said at the ceremony last week. “Your work ethic is extremely high. He was district champion this year as a senior. Made it to regionals in four different events. Had lots of calls with places to call, fell in love with Hardin-Simmons University through the FCA camp a couple summers ago. It’s a great fit for him. If you work hard, great things will happen.”
Jordan gave credit to his coaches as well as a family member out of Oklahoma, who all pushed him to new heights this year.
“Coach Doyle and Coach [Kevin] Johnson, [they] were a really big pushing factor for me,” Jordan explained. “I believe 100 percent they’re the reason why I’m going there. I also have my grandfather who lives in Oklahoma who supports me a lot.
“His name is Matthew Vianes. He supports me so much even though he’s so far away. My coaches and my grandpa and all my friends around me too. Without them encourage me and me wanting to be a good leader for them, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today.”
Interesting enough, Jordan never thought he’d be able to call himself a college athlete. While in the eighth grade, Jordan wasn’t even in athletics.
“I went through a bunch of stuff and they just put me in P.E.,” he explained.
Once summer hit, Jordan decided it was time for a change
“I wanted to do something different, I really wanted to be a runner, I wanted to be good at running, so that summer I worked really hard,” he said. “Then when I got to high school my freshman year, I was good, and I see all the hard work that was paying off and I just kept going and going, building up until this moment now.”
Jordan has already set some big goals for his freshman year of college.
“I think that I can win conference in the 100 hurdles and the 400 hurdles. Yes, it’s going to be really hard, but that’s my goal. I just want to go to college and people are just like, ‘wow,’” he laughed.
In the classroom, Jordan hopes to major in either pre-med or biology. The Apache athlete hopes to give back by working in the medical field.
“I want to be able to help people,” he said. “Helping people in the medical way is the best way for me to help somebody and a lot of medical stuff does kind of run in my family so I’ve been exposed to that from a young age.”
Jordan’s path from being one of the slowest kids of his class to signing on to Hardin-Simmons as a track athlete is a bit uncommon, though he does have advice for younger athletes who want to reach the heights Jordan has reached.
“I know it’ll sound real cliché but work hard, determination,” he said. “Honestly, let all the downfalls and bad stuff push you to be better. I’m telling you, you’re going to go through a lot more negative stuff than positive stuff and if you let all that negative stuff hold you down, you’re not going to go anywhere, but if you let it push you, you’ll be able to go so far with that.”