Jamison overcomes obstacles to succeed

Jamison overcomes obstacles to succeed

April 15
22:52 2010

By Ben Baby / Staff Writer –

Junior Jermaine Jamison steps up to his mark with a clear mind, shaking off all baggage that could weigh him down during his flight.

Competing in the high jump, he gazes at the bar, the only thing separating him from accomplishing his task.

Taking three to four deep breaths, Jamison leaps into the air, flying over the bar and above the competition.

Jamison is coming off of a career year, where he tied the school’s high jump record of 7-feet-1/2-inches on two occasions and won the gold medal for the second year in a row at the Sun Belt Conference Championships. (Photo courtesy of UNT)


In his third year at UNT, Jamison has proved to be a standout athlete, but the transformation from a raw talent to a polished veteran is still in progress.

“Most athletes would do anything to have his level of talent,” assistant coach Laurie McElroy said. “My biggest job right now is figuring out a way to get as much out of that as possible, and utilizing him in not just limiting himself to the high jump, but hopefully seeing [him] be able to step up and do things in the conference meet, at least, in multiple events.”

Discovering his talent

Carolyn Foreman, Jamison’s mother, attributes his leaping abilities to an unusual activity, something kids don’t do if they are not running away from anybody.

“We had a six-foot privacy wooden fence, and it all started with that,” Foreman said.

Jamison did not truly discover his gift of jumping until his eyes were opened by fellow teammate and Harker Heights alumni, junior Brittani Simmons. Jamison credits Simmons for where he is today.

“I got recruited to do long jump … and I talked to [coach McElroy] about him, and then I told him to talk to [coach McElroy],” Simmons said. “I guess she called him, and I guess that’s how he got here.”

Jamison did not discover his knack for jumping until he stumbled upon it during a lazy day.

“It was my sophomore year in high school, right after basketball season,” Jamison said. “I didn’t have [anything] to do — just came out there and jumped 6-[feet]-6-[inches] with regular shoes on. They told me I was a high jumper.”

A different battle

While Jamison is fighting the rest of the competition to be the top of his sport, his mother fights a different battle against breast cancer.

Jamison makes sure his mother drinks plenty of water and helps her research different ways to deal with the disease. However, Foreman’s struggles have not stopped her son from chasing his goals.

“Through it all, he’s still going on through,” Foreman said. “He’s progressing. I’m very proud of Jermaine.”

Jamison, the youngest of four siblings, comes from an athletic family. His sister, Pamela Batiste, was also a high jumper growing up, something her brother learned to mimic.

“It’s like one day he was a kid, and then it’s like I turned around and he was taller, and the next thing I know, he’s taller than me,” Batiste said.

The talent that Jamison’s family possesses is something that most would boast about. With his potential, added responsibilities are placed on the junior’s shoulders.

“I got a lot of pressure on me, because I’m… the only one who got a scholarship to do a sport,” Jamison said. “Both my sisters were able to, but outside influences got them. I hear their mouths all the time, just them talking motivation to me too.”

The high school standout has had his share of struggles this season. Jamison sustained a knee injury in November and underwent surgery in January.

“One of the primary things that I want to do this year is that he has his best performances at the end of the season, when it’s time to compete at conference, at the NCAA qualifiers and the NCAA meet,” McElroy said.

On top of the competition

Jamison is coming off of a stellar career year, where he tied the school’s high jump record of 7-feet-1/2-inches on two occasions. Jamison won the gold medal for the second year in a row at the Sun Belt Conference Championships.

From there he went on to finish 10th at the NCAA Midwest Regionals. Overall, Jamison dominated his competition, winning first place in the jump at four different meets, earning him the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Field Performer of the Week on two occasions.

Personal development

Although still a coach, McElroy has helped Jamison not only in jumping higher but also in growing as an adult.

“As a person … there’s been some dark days,” Jamison said. “She basically progressed me from being a kid into being a man, and that’s from a conversation I’ve had with her. That’s what the ultimate college experience is about — converting you from being a kid into a respectable adult.”

Compared to his previous performances, the recovery has been slow and steady. This outdoor season, Jamison finished second at the Bobby Lane Track and Field Invitational at UT-Arlington, and he earned ninth at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Originally, Jamison intended on receiving a football scholarship, with offers coming from places like Texas-El Paso and New Mexico. Jamison, a graduate of Harker Heights High School, opted to stay closer to home, accepting a track scholarship from the only school that offered him one —UNT.

To help Jamison get through his daily struggles is his middle-school sweetheart, Kristy Blurton. The couple first got together in sixth grade, when Blurton slipped Jamison a note that said, “Will you go out with me?”

The two have since been together for nine years, with a break in the middle. During that time, Blurton, a junior at Baylor University, has seen her boyfriend grow outside of the lanes.

“It sounds cliché, that he’s grown into a man, but he’s a lot more disciplined, a lot more responsible,” Blurton said.

“He takes care of his business, and he knows what he has to do.”

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