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Coppin State’s Epps, Jackson State’s Tinsley make U.S. team for Rio Olympics

Coppin State graduate Christina Epps (Morristown, NJ) and Jackson State hurdler Michael Tinsley punched tickets to the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with their performances over the weekend at the U. S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Epps, a 2014 CSU graduate, recorded a personal best 46′ 6″ to place second in the women’s triple jump and secure a spot on the team.

Tinsley is Rio bound after finishing third in the 400 meter hurdles finals Sunday evening with a time of 48.82. Tinsley, who won the 400 meter hurdles silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics while setting a personal best time of 47.91, makes his second straight trip to the Olympics. Epps 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. 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 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!” The 2014 MEAC Woman of the Year is an academic advisor within the Coppin athletics department. She continues to train at Coppin State where she is guided by her former collegiate coach, and Interim Athletics Director of Coppin State Alecia Shields-Garson.

Tinsley, who won the 2012 Olympic Trials, posted a semifinal win (49.15) on Saturday. He followed up his London Olympics silver medal with a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. While at Jackson State, the Little Rock, Ark., native became the first track and field Tiger to win an NCAA Division I title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2006.

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