Women's Track
Charley bound for Eugene after record-setting jump

Simone Charley is a two-sport star at Vanderbilt.Simone Charley is a two-sport star at Vanderbilt.

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Simone Charley added another memorable moment to her freshman year at Vanderbilt -- and this one might be the most amazing one yet.

Charley pulled off two major accomplishments at once on Saturday when she qualified for the NCAA Championships and broke her own school record in the triple jump with a mark of 43-1 on the final day of the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla.

Charley earned an overall 10th-place finish and will now start preparing for her upcoming trip to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships, which began June 11.

"It's really exciting. She's going to Mecca," said Vanderbilt coach Steve Keith. "Eugene, Oregon is Track Town, USA."

Charley was one of nine Vanderbilt representatives who traveled to Jacksonville for the East Preliminary, and was the last Commodore in action at the meet. 

Charley, who also plays soccer at Vanderbilt, advanced to the NCAA Championships in dramatic fashion, narrowly advancing to the finals and then delivering her record-setting jump.

"She was the final qualifier for the finals," said Keith, "and then her first jump in the finals was her big one. It caught everyone by surprise."

Charley's mark in Saturday's finals was the second-best among freshmen at the East Preliminary.

Charley has been doing big things for Vanderbilt athletics all season. She was named to the SEC's All-Freshman soccer team in the fall, then continued to turn heads when she joined the track team in the winter.

She broke the school record in the triple jump for the first time in April with a jump of 41-10.75 at the Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn. Her distance surpassed the old mark of 40-06.75 held by Christina Penn Charley, who is married to Simone's cousin, Damien, a former Vanderbilt football player.

Simone then broke her own school record in the triple jump -- twice -- at the SEC Championships two weeks ago. She earned a spot in the finals with a jump of 42-1.75, and followed that up with a jump of 42-8 while earning a fifth-place finish and scoring four points for the Commodores on the final day of the meet in Lexington, Ky.

Now she's outdone herself again.

"She's a gamer," said Keith, "and it's great to see her competing in a championship atmosphere. In (the triple jump), the difference between a big jump and bad jump can be very small. But Simone did it."

Keith said he and the coaching staff knew Simone was capable of making a big impact in her first season with the Commodores.

"We were talking as far back as January about her having the potential of hitting a big one," said Keith, "and now we are starting to see her do that consistently. For her to do what she's done as a freshman is a show of pure athleticism."

NOTE: Charley is the first Vanderbilt track member to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Buky Bamigboye in 2010.


 

 

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