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Coppin State Graduate Christina Epps Headed To 2016 Olympics

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Coppin State University graduate Christina Epps (Morristown, NJ) punched her ticket to Rio when she placed second at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the Women's Triple Jump at the historic Hayward Field with a mark of 14.17m/ 46-6.

Epps, a 2014 graduate was more than ecstatic. "I really can't describe this feeling, it's so unreal. Happy doesn't do my level of excitement justice. I've been through so much throughout my career. I'm just grateful God has given me this opportunity to pursue my dreams."

After fouling her first two attempts, Epps landed a 45-5 in round three, earning three more attempts. Again with the pressure mounting, and opportunities dwindling, Epps came through on her fifth jump.

After her fifth attempt, Epps commented on the tension on waiting for the announcement. "Oh man, my stomach was dropping. I had butterflies and I was just like, 'Please just let it be 14.15m.' I think I can go further. I'm excited."

It's been 20 years since the United States has sent three ladies at one time to compete in the triple jump in the Olympics. Keturah Orji from New Jersey and Andrea Geubelle also qualified in the triple jump for the US Olympic Team.  Olympic triple jump competition is currently scheduled to start August 13 at 9:40am.

"Being the first Olympian of the best HBCU on the planet, my alma mater, Coppin State means the world to me. I hope I've not only made my school proud but have inspired my fellow Coppinites to know that it doesn't matter where you come from or what other people are doing, but with God, the right mindset, hard work, and dedication anything is possible!"

"My experience at US Olympic trials was an amazing experience, something I can't describe in words. It was my first trials and definitely one I will never forget!" Epps added, "I've been chasing the dream of making an Olympic Team since 2012, when I tore my ACL. Watching the 2012 Olympic Trials at home when I was injured made me realize how much I had taken my talent for granted and motivated me to work harder to achieve my goal of making an Olympic Team!"

Christina Epps is an academic advisor within the Coppin athletic department.  Epps continues to train at Coppin State where she is guided by her former collegiate coach, and Interim Athletic Director of Coppin State University Alecia Shields-Gadson. "She showed up and God showed out! It is such an honor to represent your country, your family and Coppin State University," said Shields-Gadson.

Shields-Gadson added, "This has truly been a journey and Christina has persevered and is reaping the benefits of the hard work, sacrifices, and discipline it takes to be a world class athlete.  We are still taking it all in, but that will be short lived as its back to Coppin to resume training."

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