May 26, 2014
When the NCAA East Preliminary gets underway, it will be a showcase of siblings for the Charley family.
Vanderbilt freshman Simone Charley, a two-sport star for the Commodores, will be joined by her sister Nicole (a senior at Samford) and her brother Myles (a sophomore at Troy) at the four-day meet this week in Jacksonville, Fla.
All three Charleys will be competing for their respective schools in the triple jump. Nicole and Myles will also be participating in the long jump, meaning that the Charleys' name can be seen a total of five times on the NCAA East declared list.
Vanderbilt assistant coach Clark Humphreys is amazed by the trio's accomplishment: "It is a testament to their parents, and also to the kids for all the hard work they put in," he said.
Participating in the NCAA event is the latest entry in a long line of memorable moments for Simone during her freshman year at Vanderbilt.
After earning All-SEC Freshman honors for the soccer team in the fall, she transitioned into track, and has made a huge impact for the Commodores. She established a new school record in the triple jump in April, and then broke her own record -- twice -- at the SEC Championships, including posting a mark of 42-8 in the finals.
Simone said she is thrilled that the NCAA meet has developed into a family reunion for her and her siblings.
"It will be exciting to get to see them -- and my parents will be there, too," she said. "So it will be neat."
Simone said this will be a rare opportunity for her relatives to see all three of the Charleys in action in one place.
"The three of us have never competed at the same meet," she said. "There was an indoor meet (earlier this year) where Nicole and I both competed, and there's also been one meet where Nicole and Myles both competed. But never all three of us at once."
Although Simone and Nicole were both standouts in high school in Hoover, Ala., they were never teammates on the track team. Simone did not start competing in the triple jump until her sophomore year, and by then, Nicole had graduated.
This week, however, their athletic skills will be bringing the Charleys together.
"It's going to be really cool, especially with this being Nicole's last year," Simone said.
Even though athletics has been a big part of their lives, Simone said there was never really a sibling rivalry in the Charley household.
"Because of the age difference, it wasn't very competitive. We focused more on helping each other," she said. "They are the ones who taught me how to triple jump."
Simone said the support among the siblings will continue this week, and said she will rooting for Nicole: "I will be jumping against her -- but I want her to make it," she said.
The Charley family has a well-established history of athletic success. Simone's cousin, Damien, played football at Vanderbilt, and Damien's wife, Christina, was a standout triple-jumper for the Commodores. Christina, in fact, owned the school record in the triple jump for 18 years before Simone broke the mark this season.
"(They're) keeping it in the family, I guess," said Humphreys with a laugh.
Apparently, the Charleys have a knack for doing that.
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