Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate senior Destinie Sykes will add her name to the record books on Saturday as she competes in the triple jump at the NCAA East Preliminary Meet on Saturday at the University of Kentucky. The start time for the women's triple jump has been adjusted to 4 p.m.
Sykes is the second Upstate women's track and field student-athlete to qualify for the regional meet and first jumper in school history to reach the meet.
"I'm really excited, it's a big honor," Sykes said of her accomplishment. "I don't feel a lot of pressure heading into Saturday."
In her final jump at the ASUN Championship meet on May 13, Sykes shattered the previous school record of 11.16 meters (36.62 feet) with a leap of 12.56 meters (41.25 feet). Heading into her fifth and final jump, Sykes was in first place with a jump of 12.41 meters. Sykes' previous personal best heading into the weekend was 12.02 meters.
"Qualifying for regionals wasn't on my mind when I made my final jump," Sykes stated. "I knew after my fifth jump that I was in good position to win so I was just trying to improve my mark. I didn't realize that I'd qualified until some opposing coaches came up to me and congratulated me on making the regional mark."
The triple jump wasn't the only event for Sykes during the season, as the Gastonia, N.C. native also competed in the 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles.
"It was tough because the 400-meter hurdles and the triple jump were often held at the same time," Sykes explained. "There were occasions when I'd finishing jumping and have 10 minutes to get ready for the 400-meter hurdles, or I'd finish a race and then have to go jump. My experience with this over the past four years helped with the balance. I've found that it's tougher mentally than physically to handle the different events."
The women's triple jump is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday. Live timing will be available via a link on upstatespartans.com
"My goal is to jump better than I did at the ASUN meet," Sykes said. "I'm going to have fun. If you don't have fun you'll stress out and won't do well. I'd like to make everyone at Upstate proud. It's been an exciting journey"