Heart & Mind, the magazine of Kellenberg Memorial High School, is published twice a year and distributed to all alumni, parents, alumni parents, faculty, administration, and friends of Kellenberg Memorial.
For questions regarding the magazine, please contact Mrs. Erin (Byrne) Cicalese ’98 at email@example.com.
Jazmine Fray ’15, who holds NCAA D1 titles in the individual 800-meter and the 4×400-meter relay, is a professional athlete at Under Armour in Baltimore, MD. A sports management major at Texas A&M University, Jazmine is now busy training and competing, as well as coaching high school track. Jazmine’s ultimate happiness comes from her relationship with God, as well as her pursuit of myriad causes and activities that hold places of importance in her heart. Read on to learn more about this fabulous Firebird!
What is a typical day like in your life as a professional athlete?
I like to wake up at around 6 AM. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I try to do an abs circuit workout and then I try to stretch. I have a small breakfast of oatmeal or fruit and then right before I leave I do a Catholic devotional. I journal about my gratitudes or how I want the day to go. I basically write a letter to God. It’s not always easy to find gratitude if you’re having a tough time but it really does change your outlook on life. Then I go to practice for around three hours. When I get home, I have a little second breakfast and shower before taking a look at my grad school applications. A lot of professional athletes tend to only focus on honing their craft, but I think it’s important to have other things outside of track because I need to have ways to relax and keep myself centered. I want to do a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Health dual degree. I am also working on getting my real estate license. Once I pass the state test, I will shadow real estate agents and be able to start selling homes. I am also a high school track and field coach at Episcopal High School, so I’m with my kids every weekday from 3 to 5:30 PM. That’s a really fun experience because I feel like through teaching kids I actually learn a lot more about myself. I feel like being involved in different things helps to prevent burnout. I am trying to break the stigma for professional athletes that the ONLY thing they should focus on is their trade. Being busy and productive revives me and motivates me.
As a senior at Texas A&M, Jazmine won the NCAA 800m title in 2019.
You recently posted on your Instagram account, “We are our own storytellers. The one I tell is one of hope and redemption.” Can you expand upon that?
Each of us has a story to tell and that story is so great. There are ups and downs and that’s what makes life beautiful to me. For example, dealing with COVID-19. I’m very social, so I was struggling when the pandemic hit even though I didn’t even realize it. My running was definitely affected as well and I felt really bad about that. I am someone who is very hard on myself. I know it’s unrealistic to be perfect, but I do still very much strive for it. So the quote was speaking to how even though I had a lot of ups and downs, I did find myself a lot through that struggle. I know now that if I’m not feeling productive for a day, it’s okay. There is so much hope in God and He gives me so much hope within myself. At Texas A&M a sports psychologist taught me that you shouldn’t resist your feelings, but rather accept them. There is redemption in that. And if a door closes, another door is open or will open. A huge motto of mine is, “what’s coming is better than what is lost.” This is only my 23rd chapter in life – I have so much further to go.
What inspires you to run?
What inspires me to run is pretty simple: this is a gift that God gave me. Actually, when I was running at Kellenberg there was a part of me that didn’t necessarily enjoy running as much as I thought I should. It took me a little while to learn and understand myself and to realize that it’s not that I don’t enjoy it – it’s that I’m scared sometimes. I was scared because I had the potential to be very good at running and that would lead to a lot of expectations of me. I’m a perfectionist and I don’t want to fail people. But I learned that it’s okay to have some pressure on you, and it actually makes life more rewarding. Also, I learned that whenever I run fast it’s less about me running fast and more about being an inspiration to others. Now that I’m a professional athlete, I have a greater platform in order to talk about things that are important to me, such as public health, global economic systems, and women’s health in underdeveloped countries. God wants me to do more with His gift than just run fast. It’s about figuring out how to use that gift to help others.
Courtesy of Travis Thompson, Elevation 0m
What is your favorite moment thus far in your running career?
So far I would have to say my favorite moment was when I won the NCAA. I had worked so hard to get to that moment. It was my senior year and would be the last 800-meter race I ran in a Texas A&M uniform. When I finished I was so in shock and so happy. I was able to run over to my mother and give her a hug. All my friends were there to cheer me on whether I won or lost. On top of that, we won the 4×400-meter relay. It was truly a day to remember.
Do you have any advice for current students or young alumni who are interested in athletic careers in college and beyond?
Yes! When you have collegiate athletic pursuits make sure you ask the right questions. Make a list of what YOU want from your college experience. Make sure you ask the coach detailed questions, not “yes” or “no” questions. Also, ask the student-athletes the same questions and make sure their answers match the coaches’ answers. Be yourself. Those teammates are people you will be with for four years and so you want to make sure they represent the same values and morals as you.
How do you think your time at Kellenberg Memorial helped to prepare you for your success in your academic and professional pursuits?
Kellenberg definitely helped me and I would say that Mr. Brown was the single individual there that helped me the most. He helped me grow so much as a person and as an athlete. He showed me that no matter what, in every circumstance, you always choose to be GREAT. Whether you win or lose, you always shake someone’s hand and you’re happy for someone else. Mr. Brown taught me to figure out what kind of athlete I want to be and what kind of example I want to set.
Kellenberg as a whole taught me so much about Catholicism. I am a very devout Catholic. I learned so much about faith and discipline in God during high school. That’s one of the biggest game-changers. Running can be very disappointing if you don’t perform the way you want to. In that time you need to know that God has a plan. He would not have given this gift to me if He felt like I could not handle it. I can’t tell you how many times in college I broke a big record and it made me so nervous because then… you have to try to do it AGAIN the next time. There’s a target on your back. But I trusted God would guide me. Every single thing that has happened to me from elementary school at Holy Child, to Kellenberg, to Texas A&M, is a gift from God. He’s given me so much – it would almost be rude and disrespectful of me to not believe in God’s plan!