Florida State has been a popular destination for many British and Irish athletes over the last few years. Chelsea Jarvis joined the Seminoles as a true Freshman in Fall 2014. Since heading to Tallahassee, the Stockport athlete has ran 2.04.45 over 800m ( a 1 sec PB) and competed at the National championship meet. However this past season Chelsea confirmed her transfer to Oklahoma State. We caught up with Chelsea to ask about her time at Florida State and the reason for that transfer.
So Chelsea, what made you decide on coming to the USA?
At first I struggled with the thought of leaving home since I’m very much a “home bird,” so I toyed with the idea of going to somewhere like Manchester University and forgetting about the USA all together. Looking back, I realise that would have been a decision that I would have definitely regretted because I now know that studying/running in the USA provides so much more of an opportunity compared to staying back home in England. Being based in the US makes running in college so easy as everything is structured around training like classes and any tutoring that I might need. Plus, I get the opportunity to race in such a competitive system and finish university debt-free
Plus, I get the opportunity to race in such a competitive system and finish university debt-free
Why did you choose Florida state?
During the recruitment process, I was always torn between Karen Harvey at Florida State and Dave Smith at Oklahoma State. I found it very confusing because I seemed to change my mind as I spoke to each of them as I was overwhelmed by both of their apparent knowledge and love of the sport. In the end, I think it was the likes of Hannah England and Hannah Brooks, both female middle-distance runners from the UK that came through the Florida State program that swayed my ultimate decision.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make?
Probably just setting up a life away from home because I was still just 18 when I moved away. It makes you realise how much your mum does for you when you have to do your own washing and cooking!
What has been the highlight of your NCAA career thus far?
Making NCAAs individually this past indoor season after running 2:04 has to be one of the highlights, although I still know I can do a lot better than just making it there!.Also, seeing Hayward Field packed out at NCAA outdoors was pretty cool too! (I got to go as alternate on the 4×400)
2016 saw you transfer from Florida State. What influenced that decision?
It was a very difficult decision for me to make because I had great friends and a great 2 years at Florida State, but ultimately I had to look at it solely from a running perspective. I was running well at Florida State but I didn’t want to settle for just “good” anymore and I thought it was necessary to leave and start afresh under Dave at Oklahoma State to make that happen.
For those who are unaware of the transfer process could you explain what it was like and is there any advice you would give if someone was in your situation?
It is quite a lengthy and emotionally exhausting process. First, you have to ask your current head coach for a “release” which is basically permission to talk to other schools and kind of scope out where you want to go and potentially visit. Each situation can vary depending on the head coach, you can either have a release to talk to as many schools as you like or you can be limited to a certain number of schools of your choice, like I was. Then, I took an official visit to Oklahoma State and signed a scholarship with them. After all this, it comes back down to the head coach to decide whether you are allowed to compete for your new school straight away and this will be based on whether you cooperated with their requests or was disrespectful during any of the process.
The best advice I could give is to look at your situation from a running perspective. It is easy to stay at your current school because of friends you made, the familiarity etc. and it is easy to forget the real reason you went to the U.S in the first place – running.
What will you miss the most about Florida State?
The people! I made so many good friends at Florida State and all the coaches/assistant coaches were simply amazing people!
You decided to transfer to Oklahoma State. What were some of the deciding factors?
Like I said, I always liked Coach Dave Smith throughout the initial recruitment process and as soon as I decided to transfer, I knew without a doubt that Oklahoma State was the place I wanted to go. I trusted Dave from the very first conversation we had and I knew that he was going to help me reach my goals. Also, the middle-distance training group at OSU is arguably one of the best in the NCAA that just made it an even better decision in my eyes.
In joining Oklahoma State you join what one of the best middle distance groups in the NCAA, do you see the quality of your training partners as a benefit?
Oh, definitely! I’m so excited about having a group of girls that can push me in training. I’ve never really had a training partner when it comes to 800/1500 work, so I think it is going to be a refreshing change and it will make sessions much more enjoyable. I’ve also got to know a lot of the girls at OSU over the past few months and there’s such a good environment between them all, so I’m really excited.
What are your aims team wise, and individually this season?
Team wise, it’s always fun to come together and win a championship together so I think that’s my team goal for the season. I like the idea of racing and winning for the girls that you work your butt off in practice with every day. Individually, I would like All-American titles indoors and outdoors and to be very competitive at the national level.
As an 800 metre runner how do you feel about cross country?
Funnily enough, I really enjoy the training for cross country because I like feeling myself getting fitter by the week and the feeling of accomplishment after a long, gruelling session with teammates. Before coming out to the US, I thought that the lack of mud would suit me as an 800 runner and maybe I could be competitive on some level, but I didn’t realise that the lack of mud is made up by how fast they get around the course! I think I am a lot better at cross country than what my stats currently say, but I definitely struggle for confidence in cross so I just try to take the pressure off and enjoy it as much as I can.
What is one of your favourite workouts that you do in the US?
Anything 800 specific, they hurt so bad but I always feel so accomplished afterwards.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshmen?
I would say to do your homework when going through the whole recruiting process and make sure to do plenty of research on coaches whose style best suits your needs and way of training. Also, don’t expect to go out there and be a world-beater during the first couple of months, manage your expectations as it often takes a little while to adjust to training and life away from home. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and make the most of it because it honestly flies by!