By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Jayci Andrews endured a painful finish to her 2017 track & field season at Bridgewater State University.
The Plymouth resident suffered a broken navicular bone in her left foot during the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Association indoor championship meet in February of that year, forcing her to miss the remainder of the winter season and all of the spring season.
The 2018 season had a much happier ending for the Plymouth South High School graduate.
Andrews concluded a record-breaking year by earning All-America honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a second-place finish at the NCAA Division 3 Championships in Wisconsin last month.
It equals the highest finish ever by a BSU woman at the NCAA Championships with Andrews joining Cindy Lindh (who was second in the 800 in 1984).
“I was so shocked, so happy inside,″ said Andrews. “I never thought I’d be No. 2 in the country. It was a great feeling. I looked at the board and saw I was second and it was great.
“I just wanted to go out there in my last race (of the meet) and give it my best.″
Andrews broke her own school record with a time of 14.14 seconds to finish behind only Sophie Stokes Cerkevenik of Colby College (14.06).
Heading into her senior year, Andrews owns eight individual BSU records and has been part of three relay teams that set school records.
Andrews put in a lot of long hours after her injury in 2017 to regain her form and returned to the Bears better than ever.
She spent 12 weeks in a boot after the injury and was unable to begin training again until last summer.
“I’m honestly very proud of myself,″ said Andrews. “I never thought that I would get back in a better position after that injury. It made all the work worth it.″
Andrews became an All-America hurdler in her fourth trip to the NCAAs.
She qualified in the 400-meter race as a freshman during the indoor and outdoor seasons, placing 11th and 10th, respectively. After missing out due to the injury in her sophomore year, Andrews went to the NCAAs last March but finished 17th in the 60-meter hurdles after hitting a hurdle.
The fourth try proved to be a successful one for Andrews, who had been seeded sixth in the 100-meter hurdles.
“As I keep going (to the nationals), it gets less nerve wracking,″ said Andrews. “But when I warm up, you feel it. There’s pressure. But it gets better the more you go.
That’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt at the nationals.″
With one year remaining in her career, Andrews is determined to keep improving and take a run at a national championship in 2019.
“It honestly makes me want to work 10 times harder than I did before,″ said Andrews. “I’m going to lift for a month and then start getting back in the running and workouts. I hate stopping and trying to get back on top. I just want to keep going through the summer.″
It marks the fourth time since 2013 that BSU has had a track & field All-America performer. Molly Rouillard was seventh in the mile indoors in 2013 and seventh in the 1,500 race outdoors in 2013 while Samantha Richner of Hanson tied for eighth at the outdoor high jump in 2016.