In each issue we are pleased to connect with one of Morristown High School’s esteemed alumni. We caught up recently with Christina Epps, MHS Class of ’09.

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A member of the Morristown High School class of 2009, Christina Epps began her high school athletic career as a star basketball and volleyball player. Christina switched to track and field events in her junior year. Just one year later, she captured the NJ State Triple Jump Championship title.

After graduating from MHS, Christina attended Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD, where she competed successfully in track and field events at the national level, specifically as a triple jumper.   While at Coppin State, she distinguished herself as a student and athlete, graduating with a degree in psychology and earning 6 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles along the way. A NCAA Division 1 athlete, Christina holds the Coppin State indoor and outdoor triple-jump records. She has continued to excel as a premier track and field athlete, earning the 2015 USATF Triple Jump Championship and the 2016 Penn Relays Olympic Development Triple Jump Championship, among other titles. In July, Christina represented the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

MEF: Tell us about your journey since high school.

CE: In high school, I was determined to continue my education and earn a scholarship and play two sports in college. Coppin State University offered me the opportunity to do that as a member of the track and volleyball teams. At Coppin, I earned a degree in psychology while competing most successfully as a triple jumper. In 2012, I tore my ACL and was unable to play for a year. I graduated in 2013 with a degree in psychology but was able to return to play my final collegiate season as a “red shirt” during the 2013-2014 year. I also attended graduate school during that year. I then set my sights on making the 2016 Olympic Team. I began to regain full post-surgery strength during my 2015 training season. In June 2015 I won the USATF Outdoor Championship and in March of 16, I won the Indoor Championship. This past July, I competed at the Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. I really felt the pressure there, as only the top 3 competitors would make the team. Somehow, in spite of my nerves, I managed to pull-off my personal best jump – 46’6” – and came in second! That feeling was amazing. I had tears rolling down my face.

rio-2016-2MEF: Tell us about your Olympic experience.

CE: It was an absolutely exhilarating and amazing experience. I never expected all of the support I got from home – phone calls, and cards, and letters of support. My hometown set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money so my parents could travel to Rio to watch me compete. I felt that support as I went to Rio and the whole time I was there, and I was determined to make my hometown proud. Although I did not qualify for the medal team, I achieved my goal of making the Olympic Team. With the experience from these Olympics, I’m sure I’ll be better the next time. Morristown is such an amazing place. We’ve always had such great camaraderie in town, and our school spirit is through the roof! I love my hometown.


MEF: What inspired you to pursue your career as an athlete?

CE: I always loved volleyball, but when I was in high school I noticed my ability to do well in jumps. I went back and forth a lot trying
o figure out which would be my main sport. Coaches Gordon Drewry and Matt Carmel gave me great looks to set me up for success on the college level. My coach at Coppin State, Alecia Shields Gadson helped me to hone my skills and perfect the true technique of the triple jump.

MEF: What is your favorite memory of Morristown High School?

CE: Winning back-to-back track and field titles in my junior and senior years is one of my favorite memories. We set school records and it was great to be part of that team.

MEF: What of your successes would you attribute to your experience at MHS?

CE: I vividly remember not doing well in the state championships – placing 3rd. I was immature and frustrated. I did not want to talk to reporters and was not supportive of my team. In spite of that, I won the team MVP award that season coach Carmel inscribed on that award a quote from Martin Luther King which I have kept in my mind ever since: “The ultimate measure of a man is now where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stand at times of challenge and adversity.” This continues to motivate and define me.

MEF: What are you most proud of?

CE: Overcoming adversity. After tearing my ACL there we many times I wanted to give up, but I never did. I pushed through those circumstances and achieved my goal of making the Olympics.

MEF: What are you up to today?

CE: After returning from Rio I took a little time to recover from an injury but began training in mid-October with the goal of making the 2017 World Championships in London. Outside of training, I am also working as an academic advisor at Coppin State.

MEF: What advice would you give MHS students?

CE: Don’t ever give up on your dreams, despite the odds or what others might say.

Keep pushing forward and lean on a strong support system. Continue to fight and work hard for what you want.

CE: I would like to say thank you to those in the Morristown community who have supported me and helped my family. Words cannot express how happy and joyous they were to experience that moment with me in Rio. Your kindness, Morristown, has not gone unnoticed.

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