EUGENE, Ore. – Charleston Southern senior triple jumper E.J. Reddick competes on the national stage Friday at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Reddick will jump at 8:30 p.m. eastern time at the University of Oregon's famed Hayward Field. Action will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Reddick earned his way into the NCAA Championships with a career-best 15.91 meter effort two weeks ago at the NCAA East Regional. That performance marked the third straight event Reddick bettered his previous showing, and the Mauldin, S.C., native hopes more is in store in Eugene. Reddick is seeded 18th in the field of 24 competitors, and needs a top-nine prelims finish to push on to the finals. The top-eight finishers earn First-Team All-American status.
"It feels like a dream," said Reddick, who flew to Oregon on Sunday and has been acclimating and training with coach Roosevelt Lofton since. "I feel lucky and blessed to be one of the few to make it to the "main event," so to speak. Being that I've been hurt in the past, I haven't really had a chance to push my body to where I've always known I could go but with the confidence from my teammates, coaches and family, I knew if I could just get healthy I could do something amazing."
Reddick exhibited potential throughout his career at CSU, and has broken through in a big way during his final collegiate campaign. He jumped 15.51 meters in rainy, windy conditions at the Big South Championships a month ago to claim a conference title. Classmate Braxton Drummond joined Reddick as a Big South champion, and Reddick is now bidding to join Drummond at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July.
"I feel great right now and my first goal going into Friday is make it to finals and then go from there," Reddick said. "But another goal of mine (which I'm really shooting for) is to hit the Olympic Trial standard of 16.66 meters and join my teammate Braxton. I'm really excited about this week and I'm looking for big things."
Matthew Oneal of South Florida is seeded first in the triple jump field, with a distance of 17.01 meters. In the 18th slot, Reddick is seeded ahead of athletes from the likes of Arizona State, Texas A&M and TCU.
Drummond was the last Buc to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, doing so in 2014. He finished seventh in the long jump to finish off one of the best individual seasons, in any sport, in Charleston Southern history.