On April 1, Buena Vista University Director of Athletics Jack Denholm named Jonina Brinson head coach of the BVU track & field program.
A product of Emanuel County, Brinson was raised in Cross Green by her parents, Archie and Joanne Brinson. She is 26-years-old and an alumni of Swainsboro High School, Class of 2013.
Brinson joined the BVU cross country and track & field staff as assistant coach in 2020. After Colt Slack stepped down as head coach in December, Brinson helped fill that void and served as an interim head coach since this season’s indoor campaign ended.
“I’m super excited for this opportunity,” Brinson said. “I’ve always wanted to become a head track & field coach, and to see it happen early in my career is truly a blessing. I want to thank all of my coaches and mentors I’ve had over the years as well as my parents for pushing me and telling me to trust in God’s plan.”
“I’m most excited to see the growth of this team going forward,” she added. “We have great student-athletes in the BVU program, a strong family atmosphere, and I am anxious to see it all come together as we strive to achieve our goals.”
Brinson was a decorated student-athlete at both the University of Mobile in Alabama and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. She was a 10-time NAIA All-American (indoor and outdoor) and a two-time NAIA national champion in the long jump while at Mobile. She set 11 indoor and outdoor school records and was named the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Track Athlete of the Year in 2016 and the SSAC Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 2017.
After joining Bethune-Cookman, she was named the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Field Athlete of the Year in 2018 and was an NCAA qualifier that same year. She remained at Bethune-Cookman and served as a graduate assistant coach before joining BVU.
Brinson graduated from the University of Mobile in 2017 with a degree in psychology and, as of the middle of last year, was set to graduate in December 2020 with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. In addition to her graduate studies and graduate coaching responsibilities, she worked at East Coast Habilitation Options in Palm Coast, Florida, where she assisted children and adults with behavioral challenges and intellectual disabilities.
“I am thrilled to lift the interim tag off of Jonina Brinson and name her the next head coach of the track and field program,” said Denholm. “After having several conversations and learning about her vision, goals, and ideas on the direction she wants to take the program, I am confident she will help lead us into a bright future.”
Brinson guided the Beavers for the first time in her new role when the team opened its outdoor track & field season on Thursday, April 1, at the Dordt University Invite in Sioux Center. By the end of the day, Brinson and company had captured a handful of top 10 finishes.
Under Brinson’s leadership, Jade Hays and Katara Jondle placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 200-meter dash with Jessica Sump taking fifth in the 100-meter hurdles and Tabitha Guyett second in the 400-meter hurdles.
Emily Hoesing was 10th in the 5,000-meter run, which consisted of several Division II competitors, and reached the finish line in 18:54.65 which is the third-fastest mark in school history. Qiana Roderick was right behind in 12th at 19:10.52, which ranks fourth.
The Beaver 4x100 relay team of Kaitlynn Nielsen, Jade Hays, Jessica Sump, and Christina Jackosn came in fourth at 51.45. Sump wrapped up her day with a fifth-place finish in the long jump at 5.04 meters. Becca Simpson recorded the fourth-best throw in the shot put at 12.26 and took fifth with teammate Madison Trimpe right behind in sixth at 12.16 meters which ranks fifth. Trimpe also turned in the ninth-best toss all-time in the discus with her heave of 37.53 meters that placed fourth.
Simpson came within striking distance of the school record in the hammer throw with her toss of 47.60 meters that placed third. Her mark is the second-best all-time behind Morgan Darrow’s school record of 48.71 meters back in 2010. She nearly did the same in the javelin throw as she posted a toss of 40.09 meters which won the event and came within four feet of the school record.
Brinson and the Buena Vista track & field athletes will continue their spring schedule on April 9-10 at the Red Raider Open hosted by Northwestern College (Iowa) in Orange City.