My Signature: Wadeline Jonathas Reflects on Another National Championship
South Carolina junior Wadeline Jonathas won the NCAA women’s 400m crown on the final day of the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships in dramatic fashion. Jonathas was in fifth place going into the last turn, but she closed the gap and pulled ahead down the stretch to win the 49th NCAA event title in program history. Jonathas is no stranger to national championships. She transferred to South Carolina after two years at UMass Boston, where she won nine NCAA Division III championships, and she was also part of the Gamecocks’ indoor 4×400 relay national championship team earlier in the spring.
When I crossed the line, it felt pretty great. Unreal. For a while, it felt like I was dreaming. It felt good.
Before the race, what was going through my head was that I wanted to win! I kept repeating to myself, ‘you’re going to win this. You’re going to win this!’
That’s what was in my head when I went out there, and I made it happen.
“I wasn’t the best coming in, and I’m still not. I’ve still got some work to do.”
– Wadeline Jonathas
I struggled with my start, compared to everyone else. It’s been a struggle all year long. My coach just told me to stay with the girls and don’t get too far apart. If I can come up the straightaway right up with them, I should be fine because I have a strong finish. So, I just wanted to stay with them for the first 200.
In the last turn, I saw Florida’s (runner) coming out first, and I thought, ‘no, that can’t happen.’ I know how to have a strong finish.
In my head I said, ‘Wadeline, you’re going to win this thing!’ I was running harder, and with every step I took, I was saying ‘you’re going to win this, your going to win this.’
I trust my training and my coaches. It was pretty close, but I knew I had to finish first and I did.
I’ve won titles before, but this means everything. This sits on top. I don’t think I’ve felt this kind of joy before, compared to any other titles that I’ve won. This is an individual event, so I know that I did it with my determination, practices, and all of that. I had to get my head into the game to do it.
It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. Now, I think about things like the World Championships and the Olympics in 2020.
My coaches have a personal bond with me. Coming to Division I athletics wasn’t easy, but they could see that I really wanted this. When I needed help, they helped me. I never back out of anything. They motivate me. I told them I was going to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
I wasn’t the best coming in, and I’m still not. I’ve still got some work to do.