Who doesn’t remember the orange slices and juice boxes at the half times of youth athletic games?
At age six, Jennifer Abernathy first jumped into soccer after seeing the snacks that her brother and his team took part in during the half times of their games.
From the start, Abernathy thrived in a competitive environment. She grew up in a cul-de-sac dominated by guys but did not shy away. Instead, she developed a passion for athletics and competetion.
She continued to compete in high school, playing both basketball and soccer, but started having trouble with her knee.
Abernathy was born with one of her knee caps in two pieces. As a result, her knee would lock up after heavy training. In high school, she had two or three practices a day, which led to her frequent problems.
Her doctor recommended picking one sport if she wanted to continue to compete. As we know, she chose soccer. The knee no longer causes any issues today.
While at Union High School, Abernathy was captain of the women’s soccer team her junior and senior years. In her four years as a Union Redskin, the team won two 6A state championships out of three trips to the finals.
Abernathy joined ORU in the fall of 2010 and quickly made an impact. She scored six goals in her freshman season and was named Summit League Freshman of the Year.
After a quiet sophomore season, she came back stronger in her junior year.
Abernathy scored four goals and tallied five assists. She was named Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week two times. She also achieved the honor of All-Southland Conference First Team, as well as Southland All-Academic First Team.
Only half way through this season, Abernathy has five goals and five assists and shows no signs of slowing down.
She recognizes her mother and father, Trish and Kieth, as her greatest supporters. Abernathy said her mom has, “Only missed three games”, including away games. She said, “I wouldn’t be able to be where I am at without their support.”
When not on the soccer field or in the classroom, Abernathy likes to visit friends at Oklahoma State University. She also recently became an aunt to a boy whom she said is, “The cutest nephew ever.”
Abernathy, like most other seniors, is anticipating graduation. She doesn’t feel like she has been here four years, but is excited to move onto physical therapy school.
One thing is for sure, Abernathy will continue to progress as a leader, no matter where she goes.
Abernathy said that a goal for the team this year is to be, “Undefeated in conference.”
On top of being 8 and 2 overall, the ORU Women’s soccer team is currently 3-0 in conference.
The first two conference wins came over the predicted first place and second place teams of the Southland Conference, Stephen F. Austin and Lamar. Abernathy said that, for the team, it, “Feels like we can only go up from here.”