Born to run

Tarleton XC runner driven to succeed

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When Jenna Brazeal tells you she’s competitive, believe her.

Before joining Tarleton’s cross country team she got her competition fix by running cross country and track and field for four years at Little River Academy High School near Temple, serving as team captain for both teams.

She also led the Little River basketball team to four district titles, three regional crowns and a pair of state championships.

But that’s not all.

She was an all-state track performer four times and the school’s cross-country runner of the year and the TGCA Athlete of the Year, both in 2019.

That’s quite a résumé she brought to Tarleton’s cross country squad.

“I’m very competitive,” she said (with some understatement). “No matter how far I run, I’m still thinking in my head, ‘I need to get past the person in front of me.’ It definitely takes a special kind of person to want to run the mileage and go as far as we do.”

Cross country meets generally cover over three miles. A week’s training includes a long run of 10 or so miles and around an eight-mile run midweek — a big transition from high school. In high school the longest meet was 3200 meters, which is approximately two miles. The speed was a big transition, too.

What took very little transition was learning the campus. Jenna’s recruiting trip started the relationship off right.

“I visited a couple of other colleges, and when I got to Stephenville, it reminded me of home,” she said. “I’m a major homebody, and it felt like what I’m used to. Everyone was so nice and positive. All that combined help me make my decision.”

What motivates such a high-achiever?

“It’s a lot of things, honestly. Competitiveness is one, for sure. Then I’m not completely satisfied unless I feel like I’ve done my best. And there’s all the work I put in before, all the practices. That’s a contributing factor to what drives me. Also, my support system and my family. Knowing they are behind me always helps me to push myself to my limits.”

A sophomore business major, Jenna is still weighing her options for after graduation.

“I have so many interests, I haven’t decided,” she said. “I figure it’s a broad enough major I could go a lot of different ways.”

Regardless, it’s a safe bet she’ll wind up on top.


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