While many collegiate athletes spend all year preparing for one season, Coyote freshman Jovane Parkinson gets to prepare for two. Parkinson came to USD to play football, but once arriving realized he could also run track.
Coming out of St. Cloud, F.L., Parkinson put together an
impressive high school resume. He was twice all-conference for St. Cloud High School and a three-year starter for the Bulldogs football team.
In track, Parkinson is part of a school record, holding 4×400-meter relay squad, as well as winning the 200-meter dash and running a leg of the winning 4×400-meter dash at the Florida 4A District Meet.
Parkinson’s offer to USD came midway through his senior year.
“Coming from Florida I got my offer after Christmas break. I didn’t know where I was going to go for college and USD offered me,” Parkinson said. “A week later I came up and visited and I fell in love with the campus.”
It was the team itself that sold Parkinson on USD.
“I looked forward to playing here and it just felt like a family from the first time I got here. What really got me here was Adam Harris saying come here and be a part of something special,” Parkinson said. “To be one of the guys, to turn the program around, that really caught me.”
It was football that brought Parkinson to Vermillion, but despite his early thoughts, he soon joined the track team as well.
“I did track in high school but I told myself I was not running track in college no matter what. It’s kind of a love hate relationship with track and I. I love running but at the same time sucks because it’s running still,” Parkinson said.
Once on campus, Parkinson’s mind soon changed.
“I talked to the track coach and he saw my talents and wanted me to come out. I decide to do it and I like it. It’s different because I’ve never run indoor before,” Parkinson said. “So far it’s going really good. My times are dropping every time I run so I’m improving.”
Early in his freshman campaign, Parkinson has been doing well at indoor meets. He placed second in the 200-meter dash at the Dakota Realty Alumni meet in Vermillion and fifth in the 200 at the Air Force Team Challenge in Colorado Springs, C.O.
Head men’s track coach Dave Gottsleben said Parkinson is an asset to USD.
“Jovane is one of the most sincere, talented, hard working young men I have ever had in my 32 years at the U. He does all the football workouts with his team and then spends extra time trying to help the track team as well as being a very hard-working college student,” Gottsleben said. “The U is very lucky to have a young man like Jovane.”
Parkinson redshirted last football season. The decision was made based on where he was physically.
“I wasn’t at the right size I wanted to be. I wasn’t college ready. I used the time to really develop myself, get bigger, get stronger, get faster. I think I’m getting better now,” Parkinson said. “I’m really looking forward to next year. Next year I should be fighting for a starting spot.”
Though splitting time between football, track and school is difficult, Parkinson has found compromise between the two sports.
“For me, I’m a football player here, so football no matter what comes first. I’ve talked to the coaches about that and they all understand that, both track and football. I do all my football stuff first,” Parkinson said.
Despite the time commitments, Parkinson has found his groove and is able to find the time to spend on both sports.
“I just have to find my time and really have time management to the fullest I can’t just sit around and hang around all the time,” Parkinson said. “I have to know what’s important and get my priorities straight.”