Bulldog Breakdown: Track and field star continues family legacy at Fresno State

Alec Nolan Image
Monday, March 6, 2023
Bulldog Breakdown: Track and field star continues family legacy
With a degree in hand and a desire to be with family - track and field star Jocelynn Budwig talks her return to the place she calls home.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Jocelynn Budwig has a knack for throwing.

But the Fowler native had a different start to her track and field journey.

"I actually was a sprinter before that, but got really bad shin splints in middle school," Budwig says. "So I had to transition away from sprinting, and I come from a family of throwers."

Her parents, Jeff and Jayleen, were both track and field athletes at Fresno State, along with her older sister Jayme.

"My parents stuck a discus in my hand and told me to throw it," Budwig says.

Budwig would start to dominate the high school ranks, throwing herself into the Redcat record books.

"I'm the school record holder in both the discus and the shot," Budwig says.

Budwig would rack up the accolades -- five Central Section titles and a three-time state champ.

She was ultimately crowned the 2019 Gatorade High School player of the year in girl's track and field, catching the eyes of top programs across the country.

But Auburn University would call her name.

Throughout her freshman year in 2020, Budwig would navigate the pandemic and a canceled outdoor season.

Still managing to graduate early, she secured a bachelor's degree in just three and a half years.

"I have a niece now; my brother and his wife had a baby in July, so having to go back to school was really hard because then I only watched her grow up on FaceTime, and that's not fun," Budwig said.

With family top of mind, Budwig wanted the best of both worlds.

"I'm going to take the last two years of my collegiate eligibility. I wanted to be able to come home to my family and have that support system around me," Budwig says.

This past fall, she'd throw her name in the transfer portal, something the Bulldog throws coach noticed right away.

"So I check the transfer portal every morning, and I believe I saw it about five minutes after she entered," Fresno State Throws Coach Joe Riccio says.

Coach Riccio would call both Jocelynn and her dad, hoping another lost dog would come home.

"The implements are awkward and heavy. Throwing far, is a lifestyle. It's not just something you just walk in and out of right," Riccio says. "You have to make it a part of who you are as a person, so growing up in that environment made it easier to become that type of person,"

Coach Riccio gave his best shot - knowing family was the top priority.

"I think her coming here had a lot to do with being back with her family, being with people that are supportive of her and her endeavors, and I'm here just to be a part of it," Riccio says.

With the hammer throw, shot put, and discus at her disposal, her new coach is looking for her to score in the conference meet, regionals, and a chance at nationals.

"It would be great to do it in all 3, and if she wants to, I think she's capable of doing it," Riccio says.

For the next two seasons, Budwig is focused on finishing her career strong, eager to head back to Auburn for her master's in agriculture.

"At the end of the day, there is going to come a time where track ended, and it was going to be my academics that carried me throughout the rest of my life," Budwig says.

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