Photo of Javante Stephens. Photo Courtesy of FAMU Athletics.com
Javante Stephens, a first year graphic design student and high and long jumper for the men’s track and field team, is making it big on the track.
As an adolescent, Stephens knew that he wanted to be an athlete. Residing in Hampton, Virginia, Stephens gravitated toward athletics for a multitude of reasons.
“I felt like I was born to be an athlete. Looking up to figures such as Allen Iverson and Michael Vick, who grew up just a few blocks away from me … I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” Stephens said.
His track-and-field career started in the seventh grade and did not take off until his high school days. Being the son of Navy man Michael Stephens and mother Katrina Stephens, he had to acclimate to the commute of moving back and forth from Virginia to Jacksonville.
Stephens dominated his high school career from playing just about all positions for the football team, while also running track and playing basketball. His talents allowed him to persevere and focus more on his track abilities.
Going to state for both long jump and high jump, as well as exceeding height from following years, allowed him to gain attention and receive offers from multiple universities.
While prospering, Stephens faced a few setbacks that made him who he is today.
Battling with multiple injuries during his senior year of high school, deterred him from progressing with scholarships. Having to also face the loss of a close friend a few years back pushed him to never give up and continue to prosper.
“KJ passed away when I was in the ninth grade. He was the one who believed in me, even when I got cut,” Stephens said. “KJ is my mantra, motivation, and the one person who pushed me past my limits.”
Now at FAMU, Stephens takes his talents on the track as he is now one of three high jumpers and one of four long jumpers for the team. Facing his first official meet in South Carolina, he placed seventh in high jump and tenth in long jump. Stephens’ track coach, Stephanie Colter, had a lot to say about his character.
“Javante is a Florida A&M University freshman track and field athlete who competes in high jump and long jump. He is diligent yet extremely hard on himself. He takes direction well and has a bright future in collegiate competition,” Colter said.
Stephens was able to hold a strong relationship with his family, which played a major part in who he is today. From the way his father is very supportive of his athletic career to the hardships they faced, built character within Stephens.
Stephens also witnessed the downfall of his brother’s athletic career, which pushed him to do better as a student athlete. Not to mention the support of his mother who is always by his side.
“My mom and dad are my number one supporters, even though we bump heads on multiple occasions I know they have my back 100 percent,” Stephens added.
Stephens is now ready to take on whatever FAMU has to offer. Being a student with a GPA higher than a 3.0 all while furthering his athletic career, he knows that it takes one step at a time.