In a few weeks, senior Melissa Skevington will say goodbye to her college sport: track and field. Skevington is ending her career on a high note with strong performances in her two main events, the long jump and triple jump. This weekend against SUNY Brockport she earned first in the long jump and second place in the triple jump, and was part of a winning 4×400 relay team. The brain and cognitive science major finished in 13th place in the long jump at the Eastern College Athletic Conference last winter.

What are you doing after graduation?
I am staying in Rochester for the summer, working in a lab. I am planning on going to grad school for fall 2011.

How did you get into jumping?
In high school I did a lot more sprints so that kept me in shape, and I thought the long jump looked fun. I did it and I was OK at it.

What do you like better, the long jump or the triple jump? What’s the difference?
I like the long jump a lot more but unfortunately I’m better at the triple jump, so that’s more of my main event. … It’s not like I don’t like the triple jump.
They are kind of similar. The triple jump is more specialized; there’s more technique involved. I’ve always done both of them.

How do you perfect the technique of each jump?
There are a lot of drills, like we do a lot of high knees and bounding and a lot of lifting for strength. [We just do] it over and over again to get the muscle memory, because you can’t think too much when you’re competing.

What’s been your proudest moment in four years of track?
I would say sophomore year, indoor, we won the state championship as a team, which is really big because we haven’t done that in a while. … That was a really great time as a team.
Individually I would say sophomore year, as well. I went to Nationals for the triple jump. We’ll see if that happens again.

How have you grown over the years in the sport?
I think I definitely have more fun with it now. I think when I was beginning, I felt more intimidated because I was younger. I felt I wanted to do really well to kind of prove myself. Now I am just trying to have fun out there.

Did you have a different experience level because you came into the sport in high school?
Maybe, I was more of a tennis player in high school. I only did triple jump senior year so freshman year I was still just learning.

Why did you end up choosing track and not tennis in college?
I figured tennis I could play my whole life but track, once I’m done with it, I’m done with it forever because I’m not just going to jump on my own. So I figured I would take advantage of it while I could and I would get back into tennis after I graduate.

Do you have a personal theme song [to prepare yourself]?
Yeah I do actually … It’s from a Pulse soundtrack, I don’t even know the name of it, though it’s track number seven.

Where did that come from?
My sister got the CD with her friends off an infomercial and it really pumps me up a lot. And it has this perfect part of the song that says, “Yo DJ pump this party,’ and that’s when I jump.

Do you have any sort of mental routine before you jump?
Running events I get really nervous for, but jumping is not too bad.

Is being a jumper on the team its own community? What’s the team dynamic?
It has definitely become its own community this year and last year, I think. My freshman and sophomore year there were only two other jumpers so we just practiced with the sprinters and jumped twice of week. But this year, we have a lot of sophomores and a lot of young people on the team so we have an actual group to practice with.

Leber is a member of the class of 2011.

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