Coach statement from Travis Barnes: I have taught and coached Jayla since she was in middle school. She entered the Airport High School Track and Field program in 2017 as a seventh grader and from day one she made a major impact on our school, her teammates and myself. Jayla came into the program with high expectations carrying over from her competitions in the AAU circuit and she has done nothing but exceed those expectations ever since. It was clear to everyone who watched her that she was mature beyond her years when it came to the track and her work ethic and attitude changed everything in our program. She makes her teammates work harder and makes her coaches coach harder because she has shown everyone what is possible if you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be the best. It was more than obvious she was something special. Jayla continued to improve her craft every season and I soon realized how fortunate I was to have a once in a generation type of athlete on my team. I knew her future was going to be bright and she would one day be able to choose from any college program she wanted. She has always leaned toward going to the University of South Carolina and as a fellow Gamecock nothing could make me happier! However, I believe Jayla's future will go far beyond college. She has an opportunity to make an impact in track and field and overall women sports like very few athletes. I truly believe Jayla will one day be an Olympian and her name will be mentioned in history among the best that Track and Field has to offer. Congratulations Jayla!!
How did your decision come down to staying in South Carolina
by signing with the Gamecocks?
I didn't want to go far from home and since I grew up in the Columbia area and my AAU coaches had coached some great athletes that went to the university so it made me want to go to University of SC. Also, I have a sibling that attends the university which made my decision easier.
What does it mean to sign with a Division 1 SEC
It felt great, I have dreamed about being an Olympian and professional sprinter and signing a D1 scholarship is just one more step towards that goal.
What do you hope to achieve this season?
Stay focused on my goals and my academics. I want to start working on goal of being a national champion and help bring the university another National Title.
How are preparations going for the 2021 season?
I'm training every day, working on strength and conditioning as well as focusing on my nutrition to make sure I am at peak condition when the season starts.
How do you see yourself remembered at the high school level of the sport?
I want to be remembered as a good teammate that was a hard working athlete that would always strive to achieve my goals.
From the recruiting experience, what were your top choices?
South Carolina, LSU, Florida but SC was always at the top.
What would you like to say to fellow track and field athletes?
I would say to always work as hard as you can and stay focused on your goals.
Anything else that you want to add?
I would Like to give tribute to one of the greatest coaches or all time, Bennie Isaac, who received his wings on Feb. 21, 2021. Coach Isaac trained me since I was 7 years old and I am now 17. He coached me until he was able to coach anymore and I am not sure where to begin about Coach Isaac. He was more than a coach he was like a father figure to me. He made a difference in my life and if it were not for him I would not be the athlete I am today. If god did not put Coach Isaac in my life I would not have eight state championship gold medals, be the 2X South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, the state record holder in the 200 meter dash or signing a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. If you did not have a chance to be coached by Bennie Isaac, you missed out on something special. Coach Isaac I will never forget what you taught me and it was an honor to have you as MY coach. I won't say bye I will just say until I see you again.
Love, Jayla Jamison