I chose to stay and compete as a Bear because I wanted to be an example of how success is achievable at any level. It’s not about where you think you should be, it’s about the impact you can make where you are. I am very thankful to have competed in a Bears jersey.
Bridgewater State University track and field star Jayci Andrews, ’20, G’22, surprised everyone this year when she returned to compete as a graduate student.
Andrews holds the honor of being the first female national champion in any sport in the school’s history. She won the 60-meter hurdles during the 2019 Division III indoor championships and the 100-meters at the 2019 Division III outdoor championships.
During her sophomore year, Andrews suffered a season-ending injury. At the time she was devastated.
Little did she know there would be a silver lining: because of the injury she was given another year of eligibility which allowed her to compete again as a graduate student.
Back in a BSU uniform, Andrews competed this past year in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles.
“I had to look at this opportunity from a different perspective,” she said. “I had to have the courage, determination and discipline to get back out there and see what I could accomplish.”
Andrews’ hard work paid off. She earned All-American honors in both events at the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Aside from the accolades on the track, Andrews said, Bridgewater has proven to be the right place for her to find academic success as well.
“BSU has helped me acquire many lessons and skills...from my first-year experience to capstone papers, public speaking, research findings, to internships. All of these are skills that this university has helped me to fully develop,” she said.
That desire to grow and challenge herself is what inspired Andrews to enroll in the BSU master’s in social work program.
Her hope is to one day advocate for young athletes who struggle with mental health.
“My goal is to create a foundation, a safe and effective place for athletes to receive training to improve their technical skills and physical fitness while also maintaining a trusting outlet for mental health resources,” Andrews said.
She knows better than anyone the importance of mental health as a student-athlete.
“Having personally suffered (an injury), I know how frustrating and interfering it can become, which is why I want to be a dependable role model for others,” she said.
The track star admits that people have often asked her over the years, why didn’t she take her talents to a Division I school. It was a question that irritated her.
“I chose to stay and compete as a Bear because I wanted to be an example of how success is achievable at any level,” she said. “It’s not about where you think you should be, it’s about the impact you can make where you are. I am very thankful to have competed in a Bears jersey.”
Whether competing on the track or learning in the classroom, Bridgewater helped Andrews better define who she is and where she wants to go.
“Without BSU, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.”
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