Troy, Mo. - Not a lot of people have developed the love for running Jocelyn Haynes has at such a young age.
Then again, very few people have had to overcome what she’s already had to overcome to achieve her success.
Running against girls and boys in her age group, Haynes, 13, took first place in the 5K Cross Country race at the Show Me State Games in Columbia on July 17. Haynes ended up finishing third-overall over all ages.
“I was so happy and excited,” she said. “It was so awesome.”
Haynes’ love of running has existed from early on.
“I started running when I was seven (in Wentzville), and I decided this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “My mom said this is where my heart belongs.”
“The confidence she gets from running a race makes her feel like she can conquer anything,” Haynes’ mother, Ashley Wohldmann said.
Haynes’ journey almost ended before ever began. While pregnant with her, Wolhdmann noticed something was wrong, due to the lack of the baby’s movement, so she went to the hospital immediately.
Haynes’ was born on Jan. 16, 2008, via emergency C-section, because of a placental abruption, and was immediately airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Lack of oxygen for nearly seven minutes meant a dire diagnosis for Haynes: possible severe brain damage, or worse.
Miraculously, Haynes would survive with no brain damage or any ill effects from her birth. Wolhdmann nearly died giving birth to her daughter, having lost a great deal of blood, and needing multiple transfusions.
Haynes has also had to overcome bullying for being taller and skinnier than many of her peers, but she makes it work through competition on the track.
Her family moved from Wentzville to Troy four years ago, and as a seventh-grader, Haynes was able to run track competitively for the first time. She said she trains four to five times per week.
“I’ve been running with the high school boys, so that helps too,” she said.
Wolhdmann said the move has made a significant change in her grades. She is now a straight-A student, and working with coach Mike Robinson has made the biggest impact on her as an athlete thus far.
“A good coach and teacher role model can turn the tables for a kid,” Wolhdmann said. “(Haynes) worked hard for him in class and out on the field running.”
When asked what her future goals were, Haynes said,
“I’d like to place at the state meet and place in the top-10, hopefully No.1, then go to a big college and run there. Hopefully, I can run in the Olympics one day.”
Lofty aspirations, but considering what she has already overcome, anything is possible.