“I am so happy”: Smith beaming after completing jumps double at NCAA Championships; excited for Jamaica’s future in jumps

By June 10, 2024
Ackelia Smith won the long jump, triple jump double at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. Ackelia Smith won the long jump, triple jump double at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships.

Texas junior Ackelia Smith made history at the recently concluded NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships when she became the first Longhorn to ever sweep the horizontal jumps.

Smith first defended her title in the long-jump event on Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon with a mark of 6.79 meters, becoming the first Texas woman to win back-to-back titles in 18 years.

Two days later, the 22-year-old won the triple-jump title with a season’s best mark of 14.52m. 

In an interview with CITIUS MAG after her win in the triple jump, Smith, who is now a three-time NCAA Champion, expressed her joy at winning the double.

“I am so happy that I could come out there and get both of them done for my team and for myself. I was a little mopey about the long jump but I got back to the triple definitely took it out there,” she said.

“When I got to the triple jump I just told myself ‘hey, we’re here to compete.’ I was trying to get a personal best and, even though I did not get that, I was pretty consistent with my jumps,” she added.

In the long jump competition, half of Smith’s six attempts were fouls and her three legal jumps were the winning 6.79m, 5.21m and 6.77m.

She had a much better and more consistent showing in the triple jump, producing four legal jumps that all cleared 14m.

Smith says the key in the triple jump was to embrace the nervousness a bit more.

“I re-evaluated what I did for the long jump and realized that I might’ve been a bit too comfortable so I went out there trying to be more anxious and keep that edge. That’s what pushed me through out there,” she said.

Smith is a part of a golden generation of young Jamaican jumpers and sees a bright future for the island nation in the discipline.

“Growing up I used to hear about Kimberly Williams then after Kimberly came Shanieka (Ricketts). I’ve been looking up to these ladies and it’s been great to see the Jamaican jumps growing, especially the triple because not many people do the triple,” she said.

“It’s good to see actual growth and I’ve seen a lot more Jamaicans competing here at the championships. I think it’s wonderful for the future. Even on the guys side, it definitely looks good for Jamaica in the jumps,” Smith added.

Her next goal is to make it onto Jamaica’s team to the Paris Olympics and, hopefully, find herself on the podium at those Games.

The Jamaican trials are set for June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

 

 

 

 

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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