Aquinas track star Jakarri Alven off to fast sophomore season

Alven currently No. 2 400-meter runner in NAIA
Jakarri Alven
Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 16:55:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jakarri Alven racked up several different accolades during her track career at Grand Rapids Catholic Central high school.

"I have the 200-meter record, the 400-meter, the 300-meter hurdles, 4x200-meter and 4x400," Alven said when asked about her high school accomplishments.

Alven's name is etched in the track record books at Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Now, as a sophomore at Aquinas College, she's doing it all over again.

"She's definitely one of the top two or three athletes I've seen at Aquinas," said Aquinas College associate track and field coach, Kevin Winne.

What makes Alven even more impressive is the fact she is a two-sport athlete for the Saints, averaging seven points per game this winter for the women's basketball team as well.

"I knew I still wanted to play basketball and run track at the same time so I tried to find the best school I could do that at," she noted.

Jakarri Alven on the basketball court
Jakarri Alven playing basketball for Aquinas College in the 2018-19 season as a freshman.

On April 10, Alven clocked a 55.64 in the 400-meter dash, which shattered an Aquinas College record by over one second, a record that stood for 14 years.

The time also put her No. 1 in the entire country in the NAIA.

"I was surprised by the end of the race, I had no idea what my time was," Alven explained, "I honestly thought it was a slower time, so then to hear that after, it took me a while. I was like, 'eh whatever,' but then I saw all these articles getting posted and I was like wow."

Alven has been accustomed to running the indoor 400-meter dash but clocking that time outdoors definitely turned a lot of heads, even within the program.

Jakarri Alven runs during practice
Jakarri Alven warms up during practice on April 19, 2021.

"That was her first outdoor 400 in two years," Winne said, "so for her to run a time like that [is unbelievable] plus the fact that she can run that fast while doing two sports is very amazing."

And the accolades haven't stopped.

This past week, Alven was named the National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week by the NAIA.

Jakarri Alven picks up NAIA National honors
Jakarri Alven was named NAIA Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week by the NAIA.

"It was kind of crazy, I had a lot of people sending it to me, like friends and family and my basketball coach was talking about it but just family and friends."

Just days ago, Alven's 400-meter dash time was topped by two-hundredths of a second (55.62), putting her now second in the entire country.

She'll look to top that time yet again this week when the Saints run at Hillsdale College.