- By Daniel Whitehead
- February 13, 2012 04:54 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For most greetings, a second thought generally never follows the common Cody or the everyday Emily.
When you meet a Stormy, however, the first thing that comes to mind is: “Is that your nickname?” or “So, what’s your story?”
They’re questions that West Virginia triple jumper Stormy Nesbit has answered a time or two in her life, and she usually responds with pleasure.
“When I was a child, I was very, very sick with asthma and I was born prematurely,” she said. “I wasn’t given a name at first, but my parents decided on Stormy, which meant that ‘rough times are now, but better times are ahead.’ That’s been my progression through life and where I’m going. I wasn’t supposed to be able to do sports. They weren’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through. Even though I have asthma, I can do anything that a normal, healthy person can do.”
Because she grew up with asthma, the Roseville, Minn., native took to a talent in art and stuck with it through junior high when she decided she would give sports a try. She found herself busy in the fall and winter playing volleyball and basketball, but found some time in the spring that could be devoted to track and field.
Luckily for her, it turned out that jumping was a unique specialty her track coaches believed she could find success doing at the college ranks, which she did by receiving a track scholarship to the University of Minnesota just a five-minute drive away from her home.
“I wasn’t really into sports growing up,” Nesbit said. “In high school, I realized I was pretty good at this and could get a collegiate scholarship. Schools starting showing an interest in me so I decided (track) was a good thing to be a part of. I had about 20 schools offering me between basketball and track. I didn’t know a lot about the recruiting process, which is why I chose Minnesota because it was close to home.”
After two years at Minnesota, she re-evaluated her prospects of success in the triple jump and decided it was time for a change. So she sought out a college coach who specializes in that event.
“I was at Minnesota for my freshman and sophomore year,” she said. “It was at a time of my career that it wasn’t going as I hoped it would go. I felt it was time for a move, and when I went on my search, I wanted a coach who could help me in my event, and I found one in Coach (Shelly) Gallimore at WVU. She’s a true jumper and a former national champion, so I knew she could help me improve. I know a few people who knew Shelly as a coach, so it was good to have that recommendation.”
Nesbit is enjoying her time in Morgantown as a Mountaineer, plus, she will have two more years of eligibility remaining after this season.
“I’m a city girl, so it was different to come to Morgantown at first, which has a smaller feel to it,” she said. “It was a bit of a shock, but it’s not that big of a deal because there’s still a good amount of people.”
Although struggles remain with her asthma condition, she’s trained herself to a point that its effects are minimal during competition.
“I take my inhaler and use it as necessary,” she said. “My lungs have built up more endurance, so it’s easier now. I don’t do too many strenuous things that could get me in trouble with breathing. The coaches are also good to stay on top of it, so I won’t have an asthma attack or anything.”
Qualified for BIG EAST Indoor Championships this weekend after earning a personal-best mark of 12.26 meters at Friday’s Gold-Blue Meet (currently seventh-best in the BIG EAST), Nesbit looks to earn an NCAA-qualifying mark to compete at indoor nationals in March and gradually lengthen her distance to be competitive among the nation’s best for the outdoor season.
“I would like to make it to nationals at indoor and outdoor and place high in the BIG EAST,” she said. “People have high expectations of me, but my personal expectations have been higher since I’ve been here. It’s opened my eyes to realize that I can do more than I thought I could. This season is about overcoming my previous fears and going out and getting the results that I want.
“At Minnesota, I jumped 12 meters, so to be close to my personal record from a short approach right now, I’m hopeful that I can keep improving. It’s a technique thing because I have all the qualities that I should to be jumping 13 meters. Coach Gallimore tells me that I have it; it’s just a matter of putting it all together,” she continued. “Everything matters, from the run to the jump, so it’s fine-tuning those things so that when it comes time to jump at a big meet, I’m not still trying to fix something.”
The storm is approaching.