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What Happens When You Transition To College — And Aren’t The Best Anymore?

transition to college

Every high school student-athlete dreams of winning a state championship. One runner in Louisiana had much loftier expectations and she exceeded each one.

Gabrielle Jennings of First Baptist, who has been winning state titles since the fifth grade, just finished her career with a ridiculous 44 state championships!

If anyone can say All I do is win, I think it’s Gabrielle. Her resume is nearly flawless:

  • Eight cross country championships
  • Eight 1,600-meter outdoor championships
  • Eight 3,200-meter outdoor championships
  • Six 800-meter outdoor championships
  • Five 3,200-meter indoor championships
  • Three 1,600-meter indoor championships
  • Three 4×400-meter outdoor championships
  • Two 400-meter outdoor championships
  • One 800-meter indoor championships

After her final high school race, Jennings was overcome with emotion at the end of an era, telling the Times-Picayune:

I’ve been doing this for eight years and it’s bittersweet. At a time like this I’ve made so many friends and this is my childhood. I grew up doing this. This is literally my life. A part of my childhood is gone tonight. It’s all in my memories. I have graduation tomorrow, so it’s going to be a real emotional weekend. I have a lot of family and friends in right now. I just know that I have a lot of great support behind me and I can’t wait for bigger things to come. I’m ready to move on at the same time.

Jennings is set to attend Furman next year where she’ll make the transition from superstar to freshman.

How to transition to college: from high school all-star to freshman rookie

The transition to college can be a humbling experience for student-athletes, especially for someone as decorated as Jennings. For the first time in years, she is likely not going to be the fastest runner on her team — much less in her conference.

Many student-athletes can struggle with no longer being the top dog. Rather than get frustrated with this big change, they must work even harder in the weight room and at practice to compete against better competition.

Sports are about dealing with adversity and rising to the challenge. No matter what obstacles lie ahead, don’t worry, you will be ready. You have been preparing your whole life for this opportunity!

And if you’re still worried about stepping up your game at the next level, check out what other NCSA recruits have said about their first year on camps.


We can help you prepare for the transition to a college roster spot so it’s not a shock. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Tom Johnson