Nicholls’ track star: Springer wraps up storied Colonels’ career

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Jaimee Springer still remembers her reaction to the recruiting pitch she got from former Nicholls State track and field coach Scott Williamson, the man responsible for bringing her to south Louisiana.

Born and raised in Canada, Springer recalls thinking how unusual it was that a coach from the Pelican State would be interested in trying to recruit her to spend the next four years at his school.

“I got a call from Nicholls’ coach at the time and he said we have a strong javelin program here and I want you to keep it going for us,” Springer remembered. “I’m like, ‘How did he pick me from a small town in rural Saskatchewan? How did you find me? Did you just spin a globe and point to it?’ It was a lengthy process because I signed pretty late, but I’m happy I came here. It’s been a great four years.”

Springer has plenty of reasons to be happy with her decision. She has been a decorated student-athlete who won numerous javelin events and Southland Conference awards.

This season, Springer had three Gold medals and six top-two finishes, giving her a school-record 12 Gold medals throughout her college career.

She set the Nicholls school record for longest throw at an event in Houston this season, throwing 20 feet farther than the competition. She also had the longest recorded throw in the conference this season.

Last month, she place second at the annual Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Conway, Arkansas, winning the Silver medal after taking home the Gold the year before (Northwestern State’s Jessica Talley won the Gold this year). Although Springer didn’t win the event, she did have her best throw of 156 feet, 2 inches (47.6 m). Her Gold-winning toss the previous year had been 155 feet, 6 inches.

Last Thursday, Springer concluded her college career at the NCAA East Regional Meet in Jacksonville, Fla., where she finished 38th after a throw of 140 feet, 4 inches. She would have needed to place in the top 12 to qualify for the NCAA National Track Meet in Eugene, Ore.

Now, she plans to return home where she’ll compete in the Canadian Nationals near the end of June.

“Back home, I always had a summer season that I competed in so I’m going to go there and do a couple of tune-up meets,” Springer said. “I’m hoping to qualify for Team Canada. I have to meet a certain standard before I make that team and place at a certain spot at Nationals before I qualify.”

Back home in Canada is where it all started, of course, and where Springer’s interest in javelin first began.

Track and field events were always popular when Springer was growing up, she said, so she began competing in them by the time she was in middle school.

“You had three throwing events to choose from: shot put, discus and hammer,” Springer said. “I had tried shot put, but I threw it like a softball and it felt like it broke my wrist the first time. I couldn’t do discus or make the disc spin. (A former coach) said to try javelin because I’d played softball forever. It went pretty far and I remember thinking, ‘I can actually do this.’

“Each year, my distances kept going up and I’ve gotten to where I am now.”

Nicholls track and field coach Heather Van Norman, who arrived at the school in 2012, may not have been the one to recruit Springer, but she’s glad Springer chose to make the journey south.

Van Norman got to know Springer well the past three seasons and described her as a motivated athlete who is always willing to go the extra mile to compete.

“She’s got an inner drive about herself,” Van Norman said. “That’s what sets her above other athletes. She’s not afraid to take a risk. Especially in track and field, it can be such a mental game, but she pretty much stays head-strong. She’s been to where she wants to be. She’s had a taste of success and she keeps wanting more and more of it. That’s kind of what keeps her driving.”

While Springer is disappointed about the way her season ended, she says she has no regrets about the last four years of her life as a Nicholls State Colonel.

Given her historic run, that’s only fitting.

“Obviously I wanted to finish my senior year on top,” she said. “But the other two girls that finished alongside me at the conference event, it has been back and forth between us every single year. It wasn’t upsetting, it was more humbling to share it with those girls and to know that the Southland is strong in women’s javelin and it’s always going to be like that.”

Nicholls State University track and field standout Jaimee Springer gets ready to make a javelin throw during a meet this season. The Colonels’ senior just wrapped up her storied career with the team, one of the most successful track and field careers in the history of the Nicholls program. Born and raised in Canada, Springer recalled her career this week, sharing her Nicholls’ story.