Southern’s most decorated

Southerns most decorated

Southern’s most decorated

Over the last four years, the Missouri Southern women’s track and field shot put record has changed three times and every time the change came from Jessica Selby-Tallman, senior communications major.

As a freshman, Selby-Tallman was an indoor All-American and the MIAA indoor champion in the shot put. She finished 4th at nationals for the shot put, while placing 9th in the MIAA for the weight throw. She was also a national qualifier outdoors in the shot put and 2nd in the hammer. Selby-Tallman also set the school record for shot put (46-8.75) at the Missouri Southern Lionbacker Last Chance Meet. She was an Academic All-MIAA performer and MIAA Presidential scholar.

“The sport became a lifestyle for me, like it does for any athlete who puts the time in,” Selby-Tallman said.

Her sophomore year Selby-Tallman earned her second straight indoor All-American honor, placing 7th at the NCAA Division II Championships. She also captured the MIAA indoor championship. She broke her own school record in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet and 1.5 inches.

In her junior year, Selby-Tallman became the most decorated woman in Missouri Southern’s women’s track and field history.

“Being the most decorated woman is a huge honor for me and I never even expected it,” Selby-Tallman said.

“I really love Missouri Southern, and it is an honor that the school recognizes me. I couldn’t do it without my coaches, family, and most of all God.”

She earned her 3rd straight indoor MIAA shot put title. She won indoor regional field athlete of the year honors. Once again Selby-Tallman broke her own indoor shot record the NCAA national meet with a throw of 50 feet 6.75 inches. She finished in 2nd place earning All-American Status. She won the MIAA title in the hammer breaking a school and stadium record of 185 feet. Selby-Tallman also won her 3rd straight outdoor shot title and one last time broke her own record for shot with a distance of 49 feet and 10 inches. She was named the outdoor regional field athlete of the year earning her first two outdoor All-American honors.

On Jan. 12, at the University of Arkansas Invitational, Selby-Tallman qualified for her 7th NCAA Division II appearance with a shot put throw of 48 feet and 10.25 inches.

“I’m glad. I wanted to set the bar a little higher because I expect myself to do better, Selby-Tallman said.

“I am satisfied, but looking forward.”

Selby-Tallman, a graduate of Reeds Springs High School (Mo.), started track and field in 7th grade with encouragement from her parents. Her mother was also a standout in the shot put and was a junior Olympic champion.

“My dad wanted me to run and my mom wanted me to do shot put. I practiced with both of them until I realized I wanted to narrow it down to just throwing,” Selby-Tallman said.

In high school, Selby-Tallman had made the decision that she did not want to be a college athlete. She even turned down track offers to University of Missouri before Southern women’s track and field coach Patty Vavra became persistent on getting Selby-Tallman on the team.

“Coach Vavra kept calling and I enjoyed talking to her. I finally agreed and so far it has been the best decision,” Selby-Tallman said.

In her free time, Selby-Tallman spends time singing, camping, and watching football. She also married Southern women’s track and field assistant coach, Jamie Tallman, in October.

“I spend a lot of time with my husband. I also watch videos and try to mimic professional technique,” Selby-Tallman said.

“I keep up with a very healthy diet that helps my performance. Everything I do helps me be the best athlete I can be.”

Selby-Tallman stays humble about the awards she wins. Her most recent award was being named the MIAA Women track and field athlete of the week two weeks ago.

“I have won that a few times, but it is still nice to win. My sights are set on conference and winning at nationals. I want to improve at every meet and be thankful for the awards I win along the way,” Selby-Tallman said.