Barry McNamara  |   Published March 23, 2022

Senior Profile: Jordan Peckham

Before starting veterinary school, the track star has one more item to cross off her to-do list.

JORDAN PECKHAM: Fighting Scots sprint star headed to the University of Illinois to study veterina... JORDAN PECKHAM: Fighting Scots sprint star headed to the University of Illinois to study veterinary medicine.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Senior Jordan Peckham finds herself on several Monmouth College lists these days.

Academically, she’s one of several senior chemistry or biochemistry majors who’ll be attending graduate school in the fall. The Dean’s List student is headed to the University of Illinois.

Peckham is also part of the group of seven sets of siblings who enrolled at Monmouth in 2018 who are now approaching graduation. Six of the sibling pairings are twins, while Jordan and her sister, Payton, are among triplets. Payton has since transferred to the University of Illinois (and the other triplet, McKenzie, attends Illinois State University). Jordan and Payton will be reunited in Champaign next fall.


Sprinting toward history

Athletically, Peckham is in now in very elite company as one of only four women in the history of Fighting Scots track to win all three sprint races at a Midwest Conference meet. She won the 60-, 200- and 400-meter races last month at the MWC indoor meet.

“Coach (Roger Haynes) asked me if I wanted to try it,” said Peckham of the multiple races. “He told me, ‘I think you have a chance to win all of them, and only a handful of girls have ever done that here.’”

“I really, really want to be an All-American. That’s what I’m aiming for.” Jordan Peckham


Four is also the number of All-American sprinters in the history of the women’s team, and Peckham has her sights set on becoming the fifth in her final opportunity to do so, this May’s NCAA outdoor championships. Should she accomplish that feat, she’d join a very short list of Monmouth competitors to sweep the sprints at an MWC meet and also be an All-American. The exclusive club has two members: Hall of Famers Heather Furrow ’98 and Constance Jackson ’02.

“I really, really want to be an All-American,” said Peckham, who placed 20th earlier this month at the NCAA indoor meet. “That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Peckham is no stranger to running multiple events, as she helped Farmington High School to a runner-up finish at the 2018 Illinois Class 1A meet by placing second in the 100-meter dash and helping three relays to top-four finishes, including a state championship she shared with Payton in the 4x400 meter relay.

“Fifty-six nine,” replied Peckham, when asked her time on the anchor leg of the state-winning relay. Should she be able to repeat that time in an open 400, it would put her in rarified air in Monmouth’s record book, again alongside only Furrow and Jackson.

AN EARLY START: Seven-year-old Jordan Peckham (in purple shirt) is shown taking part in a run wit... AN EARLY START: Seven-year-old Jordan Peckham (in purple shirt) is shown taking part in a run with her mother.Peckham first she knew she was fast when she beat all the boys in a mile run in a junior high P.E. class.

“At first, I did more distance running, but I got an iron deficiency that made that hard to do,” she said. “In the distance races, I was known for my kick at the end, so they put me in the 400. I ran a 1:01 in my first race, which was the time needed to qualify for state.”

Peckham said her Farmington coach, Toby Vallas ’98, was instrumental in her decision to attend Monmouth.

“He ran for Coach Haynes here,” she said. “He knew Coach Haynes could make me really good.”

Peckham appreciates learning from the 40-year veteran coach.

“He’s so knowledgeable, and he also explains why we’re doing what we’re doing,” she said. “He’s really good with the fundamentals and with doing things like helping us run with a more efficient form.”

In a way, Haynes was already involved in Peckham’s success at Farmington, as Vallas uses many of the workouts for sprinters that Haynes has implemented with the Fighting Scots.


A dogged approach to training

Peckham added to her training by inventing her own workout regimen, along with the family’s dog, Bullet.

FASTER THAN ?: A speeding bullet? Jordan Peckham, shown here accelerating around a curve at an in... FASTER THAN …: A speeding bullet? Jordan Peckham, shown here accelerating around a curve at an indoor track meet in February, used to try to outrun her family's dog, Bullet.“He was my buddy, and he went to the track with me all the time,” said Peckham. “I’d have him sit by the starting line, and then I’d say ‘Ready, set, go,’ and he’d race with me.”

Her love of animals will guide her to the next step in her academic career, as she’ll begin the four-year process of earning a degree from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was a little kid,” she said. “When I was little, we’d have special days with our mom where we could do anything we wanted to do. My sisters picked things like going to a Cheetah Girls concert or a Hannah Montana concert, but I told my mom I wanted to go to the zoo, even though I’d been there a ton of times. She finally talked me out of it and we went to the circus instead.”

“I feel like everyone changes their actual job from when they first started thinking about it, but I always kept coming back to wanting to be a vet. I’ve always loved science.” Jordan Peckham


It’s common to have a childhood dream job get lost in the reality of life. Not so for Peckham.

“I feel like everyone changes their actual job from when they first started thinking about it, but I always kept coming back to wanting to be a vet,” she said. “I’ve always loved science. In school, they’d have us dissect cats in anatomy. The other students would be creeped out, but I enjoyed it.”

Within the field, Peckham wants to specialize in animal oncology, as it was cancer that claimed Bullet’s life. She’d either like to open her own practice or work with more exotic animals at a wildlife preserve.


Small school advantage

Through regular communication with her triplet sisters, Peckham is uniquely qualified to compare attending a large university with the Monmouth experience.

“You can’t really skip classes here, because your professors know you. But that’s good, because they’re there to help you. They were really helpful when I was applying to graduate school. That kind of attention is really hard to get at a bigger school.” Jordan Peckham


“I’m definitely glad I came here,” she said. “I have siblings at larger schools, and it’s a different experience. You can’t really skip classes here, because your professors know you. But that’s good, because they’re there to help you. They were really helpful when I was applying to graduate school. That kind of attention is really hard to get at a bigger school.”

Friends are easy to find, as well.

“At Monmouth, you always know at least five people in the room, and someone always has your back,” said Peckham. “I especially love the track team and how close we are. I’ve made a lot of friends on the team. You always have someone to eat dinner with and someone to talk to.”

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