ASU track and field jumper prepares to leap into the final season of competition

School record-holder senior Keyasia Tibbs says hard work is the key to her success

ASU track and field jumper Keyasia Tibbs said the summer after her freshman year of college was a scary time. 

Tibbs attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill her freshman year majoring in athletic training. After the first year, Tibbs knew she had to make a change but didn’t know where to go.

“I got my letter of release, and I kind of didn’t know where to go next,” Tibbs said. “I spent the whole summer trying to figure out options.”

Then one day during the summer, Tibbs was training with ASU alumnus and Olympian, Dwight Phillips, who connected Tibbs to ASU track, and the rest was history.

The now-senior said that every program doesn’t fit every athlete and that once she got to ASU, she started doing what she needed to. Shortly after, she started seeing the results in personal and school records.

“I just know that I made a great decision to transfer for the better, after all, I did change my major too,” Tibbs said. “When I got the opportunity to come take a look at Arizona State, they had a major that I was interested in, and it all kind of worked out.” 

Tibbs has had a memorable career at ASU track, which includes setting the school’s women’s triple jump record.

Tibbs’ teammate, junior Darreyl Woodson thinks that Tibbs will hold that record for a long time.

“I think she’ll definitely have that triple jump school record,” Woodson said. “It will be her legacy, it will probably sit there for a while, actually.”

While one part of Tibbs’ legacy is her triple-jump prowess, another aspect is her work ethic on and off the track.

“I work hard in every aspect of my life, I work hard on the track, constantly trying to break the school record, my school record,” Tibbs said. “I work hard at academics trying to keep my 4.0 as I graduate this semester.”

Tibbs said that her work ethic is not just something she developed for college, it is how she has lived her life.

“I know what it feels like to go after something that you really want,” Tibbs said. “Everything in life isn’t given to you have to work hard for it.”

This work ethic has not escaped Woodson’s notice. She said Tibbs is a motivated and dedicated person in every aspect of her life, from her sorority to the sand pit.

“She’ll always try her best and do her best,” Woodson said “It’s really inspiring to see someone who always gives 100 percent no matter what it is.”

As a result, Tibbs is constantly setting her goals very high, sometimes so high that she is not able to reach them. 

“I’ve learned over the years that if I don’t meet a goal, it’s OK," Tibbs said. "Because I put it really high.”

Tibbs said head coach Greg Kraft is part of the motivation to challenge herself. He expects big things from his athletes, she said.

For Tibbs, these expectations include extending her career as a Sun Devil by hitting the ‘A’ standard on her triple jump, which is 44.7 feet — a little over one foot higher than her current best.

If Tibbs can hit the 44.7-foot mark, this will qualify her for the track and field world championships, which takes place from Aug. 5 to Aug. 13.

Kraft had similar expectations to Tibbs, and while he didn’t put a number on it, he expected her to excel this season.

“My expectation is for her to be victorious at the Pac-12 Championship, in her favorite event,” Kraft said. “…for her to reestablish a new school record in the triple jump (and) for her to hopefully be a first team all-American in the outdoor (championship) meet.” 

While Kraft was very optimistic about Tibbs' season overall, he was less confident that she could win it all at nationals against the defending champion and Olympian out of the University of Georgia, Kenturah Orji

“The American record holder and Olympian from Georgia has a personal record of about four feet farther than (Tibbs’),” Kraft said. “So, if there was a favorite in the NCAA meet, it’s probably that young lady.” 


Reach the reporter at jzaklis@gmail.com and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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