An ambitious foot forward: Janay Brokenborough is racing to success


Photo provided by Tariana Williams

Janay Brokenborough poses in front of the auditorium

Tariana Williams, Staff Writer

The announcer calls that it’s time for the 55-meter dash. Taking her place, she takes a small step back, slightly bending down as she puts in her good luck charms: three signature hair ties given to her by her closest friends. She takes a quick peek and can see them in the crowd cheering for her. Meet Janay Brokenborough, a senior who is racing toward success. 

While scrolling through sports videos on YouTube, Brokenborough discovered that track was one she could pick up. Since then, Brokenborough has been involved with track and has made a remarkable impact on school history. 

“I didn’t realize I broke a record in the school,” Brokenborough said. “I am 9th in the top 10 shot puts in the school’s history. I would like to do that for running.”

RJ Reynolds record shot put throws (Photo provided by Tariana Williams)

Shot put is when an athlete takes a metal ball and “puts” it off of their shoulder, trying to throw it as far as they can. Along with shot put, Brokenborough also runs in the 55-meter dash. One of her favorite things about track is the work-in-progress aspect of it. 

“With track, it’s more like you [are] tracking what you are improving in and what you aren’t,” Brokenborough said. “You basically want to try to beat your [personal record].”

However, Brokenborough also recognizes the struggles that come with this. When you are constantly trying to beat yourself without seeing results, it can be a blow to your morale. 

“I know my body,” Brokenborough said. “I know you get in your head about seeing how fast others run. Sometimes it brings [your] confidence down.” 

Being a team leader, Brokenborough uses this to motivate herself and her teammates. She focuses on her own personal goals rather than winning the race which helps her teammates along the way. Junior Zoi Gantt, a previous teammate of Brokenborough believes that Brokenborough’s words of encouragement helped her improve

“She was always encouraging me and [giving] me pointers to make me better,” Gantt said. “Her encouragement was beneficial to me because it started making me work harder, even if it wasn’t [in] track. [Her words] helped me develop a better mindset.”  

Not only do fellow teammates respect her, but track coach Major Whitaker recognizes the accomplishments she has made in such a short amount of time and hopes that her leadership will continue. 

“As her confidence grows, I think the sky’s the limit for her,” Whitaker said. “She’s one of our leaders; if someone is out of line she will pull them aside and talk to them. Her leadership and the way that she competes… I hope it rubs off on the younger kids once she leaves.” 

Coach Whitaker and the team are enjoying the time they have left with Brokenborough. Brokenborough will continue to inspire others while “putting” her best foot forward to the future.