By Shannon J. Allen/ Sand Mountain Reporter
Sardis High School senior Selena Tarvin signed a track scholarship with Jacksonville State University on Apr. 11.
The Gamecocks are an NCAA Division I program and members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
In addition to track, Tarvin cheers and competes in basketball and cross country for the Lady Lions. She also participates in all-star cheerleading at Kay-La’s Gymnastics and Cheerleading in Boaz.
“I’ve always really been passionate about track and cheerleading, and I wish I could do both,” Tarvin said. “But it only works out for me to be able to do track, which I love. I’m really excited about going to JSU.”
2011 Sardis graduate Whitley Towns is on a track scholarship at JSU.
“Whitley put in a good word for me,” Tarvin said. “She took care of me with Coach (Steve) Ray. He told me I would probably be doing heptathlon, which is seven events – the 100 (-meter) hurdles, 800 (meters), 200 (meters), long jump, high jump, javelin and shot put. I competed in the heptathlon in the ninth grade, and that’s the only time I’ve ever done that before.”
Tarvin is competing in 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump for Sardis this season.
“It’s hard to say that my favorite’s not 100 hurdles, because I’ve medaled twice at state in 100 hurdles,” she said.
Tarvin had qualified for the state track meet in the 100-meter hurdles event every year since she was a seventh- grader.
“I’ve had great coaches in the years I’ve been here,” Tarvin said. “Other than them just teaching me how to get over the hurdles, it’s pretty much just been me, practicing so hard every day.”
Tarvin dominated the Etowah County track & field meet for three years, winning most valuable performer honors as a sophomore, junior and senior.
“I had some high competition (this year) and I was proud of it, because it pushed me,” Tarvin said.
Her performance helped the Lady Lions finish second in the Apr. 9 meet at Gadsden City High School.
Tarvin is a scholar-athlete, as she earned valedictorian of her graduating class.
“Since about ninth grade, I’ve had my sights set on the highest in all aspects,” she said.
Tarvin recalled a story from her freshman season that serves as inspiration when she’s competing.
“I was at state and I was in 100 hurdles, and me and the girl that was in first were neck and neck, and I hit the last hurdle and I fell. From then on, I was like, ‘This will never happen again.’ That really motivated me to do that much better the next year, [when] I medaled second, and then last year I medaled third. I’m looking for a gold this year.”
Sardis track coach Destiny Smith said that Tarvin has been a great asset to the school’s athletic program.
“She overly excelled in cheerleading and basketball, and it has been a great honor to have coached her in track. Selena is well-deserving of this scholarship. I know the team is super excited about Selena signing, and I hope this opportunity will prove to them that if they give their all, they too can succeed. She was chosen MVP in the county track meet for the past three years.
“All three years she has earned a perfect score by placing first in all four events. Selena’s track talent that she exhibits is astonishing.”
Smith described Tarvin as the “ideal athlete” every coach dreams of having on their team.
“Selena has shown a tremendous amount of dedication, leadership and responsibility. Everything I have asked of Selena, she has completed it without hesitation. The team looks up to her, and she is always helping them and motivating them. She is constantly trying to beat her own personal records and doesn’t give up until she is successful in doing so. There is no doubt in my mind that she will make Jacksonville State very proud.”