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Faith White makes leap to Division I track at IUPUI

LEAPING IN: North Miami graduate Faith White (C) will be giving the IUPUI women’s track and field program a boost after accepting a scholarship to compete for the Jaguars in the 2018-19 school year. With White at the signing were (L to R) father Michael, North Miami girls’ soccer and track and field coach Jason Faine and mother Peggy.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

The women’s track and field program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is still relatively young by collegiate standards, having only started competing in the 2011-12 school year.

Results for the Jaguars have been slowly improving over that time but the program needed a shot in the arm in several areas.

North Miami graduate Faith White was just the kind of talent injection the team needed, accepting an athletic scholarship to join the program starting in the 2018-19 school year.

White said her decision to go to IUPUI, which competes at the NCAA Division I level in all sports, was in part for track but also for her specific field of education.

“IUPUI has a four year degree in radiation therapy that I was looking for,” White said. “They also offered a track scholarship.

“There’s a lot of medical courses as well as math and chemistry involved in radiation therapy.”

White’s performances on the track during the IHSAA Track and Field State Tournament were numbers that immediately puts her in contention to the be the Jaguars’ lead jumper in the 2018-19 season.

As part of the Warrior track and field team, White cleared 5’8” at high jump and leapt a distance of 18’5.25” in long jump, numbers that would have put White in the top-three of both events at the Horizon League Track and Field Championships.

White expected to continue in both jumps, possibly later getting involved with the triple jump, adding she was looking forward to improving her technique with the coaching staff.

“The coaches are looking for me to do high jump as well as long jump,” White said. “They will likely be breaking down my long jump run up and leap, rebuilding it and hopefully making me a better jumper overall.”

North Miami girls’ track head coach Jason Faine, who coached White in both soccer and track, said she was instrumental in the success of both teams over the past four years.

“Faith has gone from a bubbly kid that was always playing around to an athlete that has taken things much more serious,” Faine said. “She’s very competitive, whether it was soccer or track.

“Even before she was with us in high school, back when she was in junior high, we knew she had a lot of talent and we couldn’t wait for her to get to the high school team. She was fast, was able to jump high and was always a person that was most likely to get a first place in her events.”

Faine added White’s consistency in her events, as well as her improvement, allowed her to make the state finals twice in-a-row.

“Her long jump has been pretty consistent,” Faine said. “She has constantly jumped in the 17s and broke 18 feet during the tournament.

“She’s improved on her boards as she liked to scratch on jumps but has knocked that out of her approach. She just keeps improving in high jump, adding a couple of inches every year.”

While she had been among the top tier of jumpers in Indiana the past couple of years, Faine said the competition level would ramp up at the collegiate but expected White to continue improve at IUPUI.

“There’s not a lot of girls you see jumping 5’8” in high school,” Faine pointed out. “In Division I, there’s going to be more of them and more girls that jump 18’, 19’ in long jump.

“Hopefully, the program continues to develop her so she can work her way towards clearing 6’ in high jump, which would be very solid. She’s been huge for our track program with her leadership and been very fun to work with.”

White said she was excited by the opportunity to compete and to study at IUPUI, though she added getting used to the size and location of the school would take some getting used to.

“IUPUI isn’t a huge campus but it’s also not a small campus,” White noted. “The amount of people at the school is going to be a big change.

“I come from a tiny high school where I know everybody, so going to a college in the middle of Indy is a huge change. I’m also not a huge fan of it being in Indianapolis but knowing that I’ll be part of a track family will help.

“It’s exciting to go, though, as it’s a good change to help me get adjusted to going into the workforce.”