TIM PEELER: Washington Leaps Into NC State Record Books
BY TIM PEELER
But Washington who first name comes from the fact that her blended-family parents didn’t think they would ever have kids together suffered a double blow at the age of 13. Not only did her father, Luke Washington III, pass away after an extended battle with prostate cancer, but her family suffered some financial hardship.
And one of the things her mother, Brenda Williams Washington, had to cut from the family budget were expensive gymnastics lessons.
“That kind of broke my heart, just like losing my dad,”
Not only were running and jumping free, but track was a family tradition.
Running was in her blood, even at an early age.
“I would always race my dad up the street or down the street, and I was always jumping over something. We were always playing baseball as a family. Sports was something we were always doing.”
Soon after her father passed away,
She didn’t exactly live and breathe the long jump and the triple jump, even though she had some success, finishing third at the state track meet in the triple as a junior and second as a senior. She was often injured in high school, but showed enough potential to attract attention of college recruiters from
She eventually opted to attend Coastal Carolina in
“I wish I would have recruited her out of high school,” Geiger said. “We made a mistake on the front end in not recruiting her to begin with. Thank goodness we recovered from our mistake.”
In a big way:
This year, however,
Three weeks ago, in a warm-up for today’s NCAA Southeast Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., Washington posted personal bests in both the triple and the long jump, with a school-record leap of 20-feet, 5 inches, beating her previous personal best by nearly half a foot.
Her triple jump of 41 feet, 9 inches is the second longest jump in school history and ranks fourth among ACC athletes this season.
“She has been outstanding in a number of ways for our program,” Geiger said. “She came in and won an ACC Championship in the long jump and has the school record in both the long jump and the triple jump. She is probably the best female jumper we have ever had in our program.”
It’s been a successful career for
“It really wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I thought about doing track in college or even going to college,”
“Getting a degree from NC State will mean a great deal to me,”
“I’ll be the first from my immediate family to graduate from college, and I think that is a great accomplishment. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to grow as much as I have the last three or four years if I hadn’t gone to college and gotten away from home for awhile.”
And, though she still misses gymnastics every now and then, she’s learned to love what she is doing now.
“Track is a passion of mine,” she said.
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.