Top of Her Game
We should expect something exciting from Jessica Trombly. The
Tufts soccer and track star from Nashua, New Hampshire, has
a knack for competing. Some might
say it goes deeper than that.
“She is psychotically competitive,” said
Kristen Morwick, the women’s
track-and-field coach. “Yes, she’s a natural athlete, but the
level of her competitiveness is what sets her apart.”
Weekend, on October 3, Trombly received the athletic department’s
Hester L. Sargent Award as the best female athlete of 2002–03. Now
a senior, she is poised to culminate an outstanding athletic career in 2003–04.
Whether she plays in another NCAA soccer tournament or wins a track national
perhaps both, her drive to succeed will be at full throttle.
“It’s been better than I expected,” the soft-spoken Trombly
said about her accomplishments at Tufts. Given the standards she sets for
really saying something.
Within three months of arriving at
Tufts as a freshman for the fall 2000 semester, Trombly
was playing in the NCAA Women’s Soccer
National Championship Game at Kraft Field in Medford. She assisted on the lone
Jumbo goal in a 2–1
loss to the College of New Jersey. Tufts was defeated in the final seconds,
but the team’s run to the national final electrified the campus.
“Our team was really, really close,” Trombly said. “It was
the best team I’ve ever been on. Everybody got along and it showed
in how we played. We clicked so well because everybody was friends.”
Trombly’s bursts of speed
to the ball as a freshman gave the Jumbos a new dimension.
She scored six goals and eight assists for 20 points and
the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Rookie of
“For most freshmen coming in,
it’s an adjustment because the college
is more physical,” said women’s soccer coach Martha Whiting. “For
Jess it was just a natural progression. She was the fastest player
on the team.”
But just when it seemed too good
to be true, Trombly’s
athletic ascension was detoured. She pulled a hamstring while training
for track and had to sit
out most of the indoor season. The rush of soccer’s success
was quickly replaced by the frustration of inactivity. Being unable
“I’d mostly just injured my ankle in the past and that’s definitely
the type of injury where you can tape it up and keep running,” she
hurts, but you can keep going. I had always pushed through my injuries
and it didn’t matter, but with a hamstring it’s different.”
will to compete would help her to rise above this. By February, Trombly
was able to run the 400 meters without too much pain. She had never
run the event,
but it was her way to get back into competition.
“It was a year-ending injury
and we just ‘eked’ her through,” Morwick
An ‘eking’ Trombly was
still faster than most members of the team. She joined
the Distance Medley Relay (DMR),
running the 400-meter
with Leslie Crofton, Sarah Deeb, and Lauren Esposito, the DMR
team won the ECAC Division III Championship. The following
by finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Wisconsin.
of 12 minutes, 4.18 seconds was the second-fastest in Tufts history.
aggravated her hamstring again during the outdoor season,
but was able to overcome it and help Tufts reach nationals
as part of the 4x400
By the end of her freshman year, she had competed at NCAA national
championship events in all three seasons.
“When I was recruiting her, people were telling me that she is the type
who only comes along once in a while,” Whiting said.
did not slow down in any sense after her smashing debut. She went
on to share the team lead in scoring during her sophomore
she started training and competing in the heptathlon, an endurance
test with seven events ranging from shot put to high jump to the
the end of the year, she had placed 12th in the heptathlon at the
NCAA Outdoor Championships
in Minnesota despite novice status in the event.
As a junior last
year she was again a leading scorer as the soccer team
earned the second NCAA Tournament berth during her career.
She scored the
game-winning goal against Williams College to help the Jumbos
win the NESCAC championship.
Then in one of the more remarkable
athletic feats in Tufts history, she won five events at
the 2003 New England
Division III Indoor
Track and Field
hosted by Bowdoin College in February. Winning the 200 meters,
the 400 meters, the 55-meter hurdles, the long jump, and the
at the meet.
“It was literally not only
sprinting in the events, but sprinting to get to the
events as well,” Morwick said. “It was bananas.”
she has so much room for improvement, it is the heptathlon
that stirs Trombly’s competitive juices most. She earned
All-America status and set a school record in the event with
4,773 points for a third-place finish at the
NCAA Outdoor Championships in upstate New York this past May.
She is aiming to win that crown in her senior year. Trombly
also hopes to score enough points
in the event to qualify for the Olympic trials in June. That’s
a mark Morwick said she would need to add more than 400 points
to her score to achieve.
The sky’s the limit for Trombly.
She is one of the leaders of a soccer team that has a 39–15–2
record over the last three years, and she’s
already seventh on its all-time scoring list. In track she is
continuing a legacy of Tufts greats that includes national champions
Last year alone, Trombly broke five school records and qualified
for the NCAA meets in 11 events.
“If you look at our honor roll, from the 55 meters to the 100, the 100
hurdles, the 200, the 400, the 400 hurdles, 500, 600, 800,
the relays and more, she’s
either number one or two on all those lists,” Morwick
said. “So this
year she said, ‘I think I could even get the 1,000 record!’”
is an economics major with a fine academic record. Her plans
for the future are not set in stone; she entertains
school. But one thing she knows for sure is that she’ll
continue to compete as an athlete. In the meantime time flies,
bringing the last
of her undergraduate
years. Trombly flies too, and the changes are good that her
speed will give us
something to marvel at again this year.