EDUCATION

UM track star wins a different kind of race

IMG_5027Lynecia Christion
The Oxford Eagle

Louisiana native and track star D’Lacia McKinley recently ran a different kind of race and won. She was chosen as one of the University of Mississippi’s junior homecoming maids.

McKinley, 19, is studying broadcast journalism and competes as a member of the track and field team. She wants to become a sports announcer.

McKinley came to Ole Miss in the fall of 2013 on a track and field scholarship. She had a few scholarship offers from other South Eastern Conference schools, such as the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, and Louisiana State University.

She chose Ole Miss because she “did not want to be close to home,” and Ole Miss felt like something “new and different.”

McKinley participates in the indoor and outdoor long jump events for the Ole Miss Track & Field Team. In 2014, during the outdoor events, she placed 23rd in the SEC Championships with a jump of 17-11 and placed seventh at the Ole Miss Open with a season best jump of 18-1.75.

In the indoor events, she competed in four long jump meets and the 60 meters competition. Her season best jump was 17-7.5 at the Don Kirby Elite. Her season best 60 meters time was 8.20 at the Auburn Invitational.

McKinley attended Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she was a two-time state champion in the long jump under coach Greg Thompson.

She is a three-time Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-State selection, a three-time region champion in the long jump, and is also the region record holder for a long jump of 19-3.

“My high school best is 19-3.75 in the long jump and 36-0 in the triple jump,” she said.

McKinley also competed with the Faith Track Club and made several appearances at the United States of America Track & Field Junior Olympics.

McKinley is a part of many other organizations on the University of Mississippi campus. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, the Black Student Union, and the UM Fashion Society.

At first, she had no interest in being part of the homecoming festivities.

“The population here is different than back at home, and you have to know certain people,” she said, explaining her hesitation.

McKinley’s mother encouraged her to participate.

“My mom just told me to try and see how it goes,” said McKinley, who is also a former high school homecoming queen.

McKinley ran against three other student athletes, including Bretta Hart, a Ole Miss women’s basketball player.

Many of her friends, her sisters of AKA Inc., BSU, and the UM Fashion Society helped run McKinley’s candidacy by using promotions, mainly through social media, such as FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter. She had support from many individuals on campus.

Anico Kimble, an Ole Miss marketing communications and finances senior,  21, said McKinley is a humorous, compassionate and loving person.

“She is a person who can bring the best out of the majority of the people she comes in contact with,” he said. “She is the epitome of grace. I am so appreciative to have met such a wonderful person.”

McKinley said her track and field teammates were also very supportive during her homecoming candidacy.

Kiannah Alexander 21, a senior criminal justice major and teammate of McKinley, was cheering her on.

“Lacy is an awesome person,” she said. “She has a huge heart and is very caring as a teammate and as a person. She was more than deserving to win junior maid because she’s not just someone on the track team; she’s involved in many on campus groups within the university.

“Lacy goes the extra mile and puts her heart into everything she does. She is definitely someone anyone can count on.”

When asked about her response to winning the candidacy, McKinley said she was surprised.

“People knew more about the basketball players than they knew about me,” she said. “I was like ‘No, I didn’t win,’ and they were, ‘Yes you did.'”

Ole Miss Track & Field teammate Deanna Tate, 20, said McKinley deserved to win junior maid because she is a beautiful person inside and out.

“She is such a loving and fun person,” she said. “And I think even people who do not know her as well I  as do would say the same. She represents the university extremely well.”

McKinley has not been presented with her duties as the junior maid yet, but knows she will represent the university well with any duty she is given.

She has been asked by a few if she would run for Ole Miss homecoming queen next year, but right now, her answer is “No.”

McKinley encourages anyone who wants to run for an ASB position to: “Try and don’t be discouraged of who you are running against. It can always work out in your favor.”

Categories: EDUCATION, FEATURES, SPORTS

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