Making an impression
UMKC's only female javelin thrower aims for the Olympics
In order for a javelin throw to be measured, it must make an impression when it hits the ground. Like the javelin throw, Kimoya Harriott – a third-year Accounting major – makes a definite impression.
Harriott has a huge smile and bright eyes. Her smile becomes larger and her eyes become brighter when she talks about the "jav".
"Being a student-athlete is the greatest thing ever"
"I want to tell everyone that being a student-athlete is the greatest thing ever," Harriott said. "I'm doing what I love to do – being an athlete and a student. I wouldn't be at UMKC if I were not in jav. If you have a passion for a sport – or just anything in life – you should go after it."
Prior to the javelin throw, Harriott played netball – a game similar to basketball. In netball, you pass the ball – without bouncing it – and score by shooting in the net. However, her favorite sport is track and field.
At the request of her high school track coach, Harriott started throwing the javelin to fill in during a heptathlon.
“I did well. I went 30 meters – approximately 98 feet – my first time off, with one crossover," said Harriott. "It was impressive, so my coach thought he had found my event for me."
A growing Track and Field team
The St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, native was recruited by her former throwers coach and is the only female javelin thrower on UMKC's Track and Field team. There also are two male throwers. Here, Harriott is only engaged in the … "field – the throw part, not the track."
“Next year we will have 12 throwers on the team. The majority throw the shot put, discus, hammer and indoor weight throw," said Andrew Nordland, assistant coach of Track and Field. "Kimoya throws all five events."
According to Harriott, at the end of the throw, you need to look as if you are arching your legs just to get a long pull on the javelin. Without it, the jav “will not go anywhere”.
"It’s like a run into four or five crossovers, and then you release the javelin,” said Harriott.
A crossover is like running sideways, when you run to build up momentum. She did four crossovers when she achieved her best distance, so she sticks with it.
“When you release it (the javelin), it must hit tip down and make an impression on the ground for it to be measured. If it doesn’t make an impression, it’s a foul throw.”
“Kimoya is an excellent javelin thrower because she is very athletic and physically explosive,” said Nordland. “But, most importantly, she has a passion for the event. Athletes must be students of their sport in order to fully reach their potential. They must have a drive to want to learn something every day and constantly push themselves to improve. Kimoya has those qualities and that is why she is successful.”
Her best throw was 46 meters or 151 feet, and she’s ranked first in the Summit League. Also, she made it to the first round of qualifying at the NCAA regional championship ranking, finishing at 38 in a field of 48 competitors.
Nordland’s goal for the throws group is to break every school record at UMKC. Harriott has set an equally challenging personal goal for herself.
Aiming for the Olympics
After graduation, Harriott wants to make a big impression to honor her country – she wants to compete on Jamaica’s Olympic team. Its only female thrower retired, and Harriott would like to be the replacement. However, as a result of an ACL injury sustained in 2010, Harriott must wait until she fully recovers to try out for the Olympics.
“People know that Jamaica is known for its sprinting, and I want to make it known for throwing,” said Harriott.