Jessica Harris Telligman was a two-sport athlete at Belmont from 1997-2001. As a student-athlete during the transition period between NAIA and NCAA Division I, Jessica played on the school’s inaugural women’s soccer team in 1997 and later ran cross country and track for the Bruins. In her lone season on the pitch, she played in 10 matches and scored a goal. Later, as a runner, she helped the cross country team become one of the top programs in the South. Jessica recently spoke with Belmont Athletics about her Belmont athletic career and her present life in North Carolina.
Why did you choose Belmont?
It was a small liberal arts school, relatively close to home, yet offered Division I athletics.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Our women’s cross country team going from an absolute no name to third in our region of the country (think about that being all SEC schools, etc.), with an NCAA All-American (Keely Weaver Corlew) while I was the captain.
I also scored a goal my freshman year in soccer, which I felt was somewhat of a miracle. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. My twin sister (Meggan Harris Goodpasture) was also on the soccer team, and she scored goals all the time, but I remember this one goal I scored being a big deal. My parents were watching in the stands as well as the men’s team, and they couldn’t tell if I was celebrating or having a seizure I was so excited.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
My sister, Meggan, was always influential because she was consistently excellent at everything she did. She still is to this day. While at Belmont, I think Coach Sheridan had a big influence on us because he recruited similar girls for his team, and that had a great compounding effect.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
My cross country and track teammates were unbelievably caring and sweet. We were beyond sisters to each other, and although we don’t get to see each other much now given distance, we will always have a bond that grew over pounding the pavement together and talking over miles and miles of running.
What advice would you give to current members of the cross country team?
Enjoy it while it lasts. Distance running is hard on your body. Once you graduate, don’t rush to the marathon. Give your body plenty of time to recover. If you do continue to run long distances, mix that with strength work, and eat well.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
It was a tie between Political Science professors Dr. Hall and Dr. German.
Where do you live now?
Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
What is your occupation?
I work at Wake Forest University and I am a lawyer. After Belmont, I went to Vanderbilt University Law School. I’ve had a variety of different legal jobs since graduating from law school in 2004, including worked night court in the jail. I currently work in the Title IX office at Wake Forest and investigate sexual assault matters.
Tell us about your family.
My family is everything to me. My husband, Avery, and I have a 5-year-old son, Henry, and a one-year-old daughter, Margot. We have two dogs, Fletcher and Daisy.
My sister, Meggan, and her husband live in our neighborhood as well with their two sons. We have a team approach to parenting, and pretty much everything we do. My son makes me laugh, and I think my daughter is the sweetest blessing I’ve ever been given, but I would like to start sleeping more regular hours one of these days soon.