Thursday, March 29, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 121



Cougar Track and Field sees off another All-American

By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff

Jenny Adams said her father best described her when she was in high school.

"My dad used to tell me after I would compete in my track meets, 'Not bad for a skinny-legged white girl,'" Adams said.

Arriving on a campus rich in ethnic diversity was a bit of a shock for a girl from a predominantly white high school in Tomball.

"It was a new environment, a different culture, one I didn't know or understand," Adams said. "Going to school here opened horizons and broadened my perspective of life and the world around me."

Adams claims she was just another athlete in high school, not even the best athlete in her family.

Senior Jenny Adams ended her collegiate career with her personal best and with the NCAA title in the long jump. She moves on to professional competition.

Pin Lim/
The Daily Cougar

"My brothers used to compete against me and beat me every time. Now they won't try it, for whatever reason," Adams said.

The record book shows she was a Class 5A state champion in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles and set the 5A record in the 300-meter hurdles her senior season in high school.

A little known fact to most track fans is that Adams earned All-American honors as a cheerleader during her high school career.

As NCAA Indoor and Outdoor long jump champion her senior year at UH, Adams failed to qualify for the state championships in the long jump in high school.

"I was a good jumper, but when I got to UH, coach T (former Cougar track and field head coach Tom Tellez) switched my jumping leg from my right leg to my left," Adams said.

Two NCAA championships later, coach Tellez's decision to switch her launching leg appears to have been a stroke of brilliance.

"He said I had too many bad habits jumping off my right leg to correct," Adams said. "I thought he was crazy, but I put my faith in him. I had to totally trust him. Every athlete faces that decision."

Adams said UH's coaching staff was the main reason for her decision to attend UH and not the University of Texas or Texas A&M with her friends.

According to Adams, high school athletes usually do what feels right to achieve maximum results, even though it may not be the right form.

"You have to get over that and trust your coaches. Some athletes never make that leap of faith," Adams said. "That's what separates champions from those who never reach their full potential."

Adams leaves behind a track and field legacy that will land her in the UH Hall of Fame.

She was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year before becoming an 11-time All-American in the long jump and 60-meter hurdles, and two-time NCAA champion in the long jump.

Adams saved her best leap for last.

"Carol Lewis told me she loved being the first one to jump because if you nailed the first jump, the rest of the field gets rattled," Adams said.

Adams fouled on first leap at the 2001 NCAA Indoor championships, but she established a career best mark of 21-11 on her second jump, leaving the rest of the competition in her wake.

"They got nervous and started fouling because they were trying to match my jump," Adams said. "I knew I had to hit a good one because one girl (Elisha Williams of Mississippi State) jumped 21-07.25 in the first flight, which is a very good leap. But I was relaxed about it and confident I was going to do well."

Assistant track and field coach Mike Takaha, who coached Adams in the hurdles, said it was a tough meet for Adams to perform at her best.

"Her events were run back-to-back. She warmed up for the long jump and then had to run the preliminaries in the hurdles, then come back and compete in the long jump," Takaha said.

A professional track career awaits the Cougars' queen of track and field.

Track and field head coach Leroy Burrell said Adams is one of those athletes every coach would like to have on the team.

"I didn't have a great deal to do with coaching Jenny, but having her on the team was a pleasure," Burrell said. "Her leadership and accomplishments inspired everyone around her. I'm going to miss her."

Send comments to

To contact the Sports Section Editor, click the e-mail link at the end of this article.

To contact other members of 
The Daily Cougar Online staff, 


Advertise in The Daily Cougar

Student Publications
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-4071

©2005, Student Publications. All rights reserved.
Permissions/Web Use Policy


Last update:

Visit The Daily Cougar