North Central College - Naperville, IL

From try-out to All-America honors in four years

Since stepping onto campus four years ago, Brianna Tolliver ’12 has made her mark as a student leader, radio broadcaster and as an All-America honoree in the javelin throw.

At the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Tolliver turned in a personal-best effort in claiming All-America accolades and set a North Central record of 140 feet, 8 inches. Tolliver stood in sixth place when the competition ended to earn a spot on the podium in her second trip to the national  championships. She is the second North Central female student-athlete to earn All-America honors in the javelin throw and the first since 1985.

Ironically, it was playing on the Cardinal volleyball team that resulted in her new-found javelin career. “When I came out for track my freshman year my coach suggested I try the javelin since I had the arm and athleticism from being a hitter in volleyball,” says Tolliver, who played volleyball as a Cardinal for two seasons.

In her first year, the Las Vegas native finished sixth at a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) meet in the javelin before uncorking a throw of 129 feet, 6 inches at the Dr. Keeler Last Chance Meet to establish a freshman and then-school record in the event. “It was a surprise to have the school record during my first year but it was exciting to have that kind of success so quickly. Working on the technical aspects of the event helped me to consistently improve,” she says. Since then there has been no stopping Tolliver, who has improved the record every season and participated in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships in 2011.

Tolliver’s success has gone beyond just the javelin. During the 2012 indoor season, the senior finished third in the triple jump at the CCIW Championships (she was the 2008 Nevada 4A Champion in the triple jump in high school). Her personal best jump of 36 feet, 11 ¾ inches is third on the all-time indoor list and she’s also been a team contributor in the vertical jumps and short sprint events.

When not on the track or in the field, Tolliver is a leader to her fellow teammates, having served as a student-athlete mentor for three years. A broadcast communication and sport management major, she was one of two North Central students to attend the NCAA Sports and Entertainment Summit in March 2010 in Los Angeles. On WONC-FM 89.1, she has broadcast basketball  games and served as a DJ. She has been an active member in the College’s Black Student Association.

After closing out her track and field season, Tolliver will complete her North Central academic career by spending the fall term abroad. She will be part of the first group of students to travel and study in Ghana. After graduation, Tolliver aspires to attend graduate school and gain a job in public relations for a professional sports team or serve as a sports broadcaster.