Athlete To Watch: Jordan Parker
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/08/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 8, 2005

by Andrea Winter

Jordan Parker isn't one to boast about his achievements, but his results the past few years speak for themselves. Parker, an Albuquerque native, has evolved into one of the Mountain West Conference's top competitors in the discus and shot put. In his first meet of the 2005 outdoor season, he surpassed the NCAA Midwest Regional qualifying mark in the shot put, and is close to qualifying in the discus. He will have another chance today when he joins the discus field at the prestigious Clyde Little Field Texas Relays.

"My goal for the Texas Relays this weekend is to make it to the finals and to qualify for regionals in the discus," Parker said.

However, the road to success wasn't so direct. Parker started competing in track when he was a freshman at La Cueva High School, on the recommendation of his football coach.

The 6-6 Parker played football his freshman year, but after a tear in his MCL at the end of the season, he decided to stay with track and take two years off from football. His track coach in high school, current UNM head coach Matt Henry, influenced his decision to continue with track in college.

"Coach Henry told me that it would be a shame for me to not try and compete in college," Parker said, "So I decided to give it a try."

Although Parker stayed below the radar during his first two years with the Lobos, he started to improve his marks tremendously and really began to make a name for himself in the shot and discus events, under the tutelage of volunteer coach Matt Kraft. Kraft started working with the UNM throwers two years ago and had an immediate impact on Parker's success.

"Coach [Matt] Kraft has helped me to improve a lot on the technical aspects of shot and discus, and I think that's when I started to get better scores," Parker said.

Parker graduates in May with a degree in Marketing from Anderson School of Management and says that he would like to work in Sports Marketing or a related field. Until then, he plans on enjoying the rest of his senior year.

"For a person coming in to the track program, I would tell them to do it because you like it and work hard because you'll go further," Parker said.