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Next Level Seniors: Sprinting Towards Success, Jasmine McIntosh Commits To Run Track at Western Washington University

John Pham
Jasmine McIntosh has made it to the state tournament all three years of her high school track career, excluding her freshman season when the pandemic prevented the tournament from occurring.

Though senior Jasmine McIntosh began her athletic career playing soccer, running track was always in her blood. From the moment her young self streaked down the center of the soccer pitch, it was immediately clear that she had a gift — one that was deeply rooted in several generations of her family. 

“Track has alway been a big part of my family,” McIntosh said. In addition to her mom running track all throughout her childhood and college, McIntosh’s grandfather also ran track and coached her mom, who was the first person to notice that McIntosh had inherited the family’s love for speed upon observing her on the soccer field. 

“My mom always saw me sprinting down the field, and she was like, ‘you should definitely do track,’” McIntosh said.

Now, ten years later, McIntosh has committed to run track at Western Washington University, a Division II school located in Bellingham, Washington. In doing so, she joins The Falconer’s Next Level Seniors series, designed to showcase the select group of seniors who have committed to playing a sport at the collegiate level. 

McIntosh’s main motivation to take up track came from her mom, who served as her coach for several years before high school and played a large role in helping her build her technique and form. Even in high school, when the mother-daughter duo no longer shared the dynamic between a coach and an athlete, she was “always involved with the team, in some aspect,” McIntosh said.

So, guided by her familial ties, McIntosh set her sights on achieving success from a very young age. 

While some athletes begin their sports on recreational teams and slowly ease their way into playing them competitively, McIntosh wasted no time in channeling her love for sprinting. In the fourth grade, just one year after she started running track, she joined a competitive club team called the Albina Roadrunners. 

That very same year, her relay team qualified for nationals. 

“That was my very first experience with club track, and I really loved it,” McIntosh said. 

As a result of running track for her club team for several years prior to high school, McIntosh was able to run varsity track for all four years at La Salle, competing at the highest levels for the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, the 4×100 relay, and the 4×400 relay. 

For McIntosh, her junior and senior year seasons have been highlights of her high school career. Not only do they represent the culmination of her hard work and dedication to her sport, but they have allowed her to regain the passion that track first sparked in her — something that, in the midst of her competitive rigor, was easy to lose sight of at times.

“I think that over time I started to kind of lose that, and I focused too much on competing and being the best,” she said. “Junior and senior year, I just really focused on having fun, and remembering what it felt like to run track when I first started.”

In 2019, McIntosh participated in the USATF National Junior Olympics in Sacramento, California for the 4×100 relay. (Photo courtesy of Jasmine McIntosh)

Over the course of these two seasons, not only did McIntosh break the 100 meter school record at the Twilight Invitational during the end of her junior year, but she started her senior year with the fastest season opener she’s ever had, and has been on a gradual upward trajectory ever since. 

“That was really reassuring for me, that all the training I’ve been doing during preseason is actually working,” she said. “I’ve been running really consistent times, so I’m happy with that.”

For McIntosh, her “preseason” training is technically year-round, as she recently joined a new track club, Resolute, that trains four days a week and has meets during the winter, fall, and summer. Though her new schedule is more rigorous, as her prior club only trained during the spring and summer, making the switch has been strongly beneficial to McIntosh as an athlete, primarily because of the coaching she has received. 

During the club season, McIntosh and her team spend two days a week at Resolute head coach Christina Whitney’s house working out at the gym in her backyard, something that has helped McIntosh gain strength and become a better sprinter. 

“She’s probably the most influential coach I’ve ever had,” McIntosh said. “She’s someone that I look up to, and she’s like a role model for me in the sport.” 

Whitney also played a key role in McIntosh’s decision to take her sport to the collegiate level, and was able to offer a lot of guidance as someone who had experience in sending club athletes to run in college. 

For McIntosh, however, the seed to run collegiately was planted long before she joined Resolute Track Club.

“It’s always been a goal of mine since freshman year,” she said. This motivation originally stemmed from running at University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, where she was struck by the magic of having access to one of the best track and field facilities in the country. 

“I think a lot of kids in Oregon feel that, because Hayward is the place to be,” McIntosh said. Though she did end up applying to the University of Oregon, this was not done with the goal of running track in mind, as she noted that “my times are nowhere near fast enough to run for their team.” 

However, McIntosh was far from discouraged by this. Instead, she got to work emailing coaches and sending them highlights, and by the time her senior year approached, she had spoken over the phone with various coaches. In addition to Western Washington University she found herself with multiple options, with some of her top contenders being Colorado Mesa University, Seattle University, and Northern Arizona University. 

McIntosh at another National Junior Olympics meet in North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Jasmine McIntosh)

After visiting Western Washington, McIntosh immediately knew that this was where she wanted to be — and not just from an athletic standpoint, as there were multiple factors that enticed her. 

“Academically, it was the perfect fit for me, and that was the most important thing,” she said. “Obviously, I was there to see what the track team was about, but I’m more of a student first.” Aiming to study anthropology and journalism, McIntosh has always placed a heavy emphasis on schoolwork, and wanted to ensure that this would be something she could continue. 

In addition, the university had just hired a new sprint coach who was closely acquainted with Coach Whitney, so McIntosh was able to meet her at some of her indoor competitions.

“It was really nice having a familiar face, and they really wanted me there,” she said. “I was like, ‘Cool. If you guys want me here and I want to be here, then I think it will work out.’” 

Looking forward, McIntosh has big plans for herself, both in regards to her next four years at Western Washington and the end of her final high school season. 

“I just know that I want to push myself to be all that I can be,” she said. For McIntosh, this means breaking more records in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. “That’s been my goal all four years — I just want to have a record that no one can touch.”

As for her next four years at Western Washington, McIntosh is looking forward to the change of pace, and the opportunity to not only continue to push herself and hone her competitiveness but contribute to her community, an aspect that has been monumental for her experience as a student athlete thus far.

“The community that I’ve built from being on the track team has helped me meet a lot of people,” she said, pointing out that some of her closest friendships were built through track and that the relationships she formed with her coaches were influential in her decision to run in college. “Maybe I won’t necessarily remember the races that I had, but I’ll remember the impact that I had on other people.”

McIntosh’s biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to continue their sport in college is to never let the aspect of fun dissipate, and to have confidence in regards to decision making. 

“You’re going to get a lot of opinions from other people … but ultimately, at the end of the day you’re the only person that can make the decision, and you’re the only person that has to go to that school,” she said. 

Though McIntosh is proud of her achievements and excited that her hard work has allowed her to pursue her sport at the next level, the end of her senior year will be a bittersweet moment, as she will miss the experience of being a high school athlete and the people that were alongside her throughout her journey. 

“I’m ready for the next chapter, but I know that as soon as I’m gone I’m going to miss it,” she said.

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  • M

    MariaMay 2, 2024 at 8:26 am

    We loved sharing the excitement of your achievements with you and your family! Bellingham is an incredibly lucky community.

  • T

    Tom McLaughlinApr 18, 2024 at 9:26 am

    Congratulations, Jasmine! I’m so excited for you. And thank you for all you’ve contributed to La Salle, and to me.