While March drags on for most students in the cold of Maine, Sally Ceesay ’18 has had a very different experience; she traveled to Birmingham, AL to compete in the 2018 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships earlier in the month. She says, “Generally for nationals, the meets are pretty far away. My first one was in North Carolina, so it was really nice to get back down south to warmer weather. I love going away for nationals, because it’s right in the middle of March, and everyone hates this month. I always see it as my vacation and quick break away. It was great.” She continues, talking about being in a new place: “It was my first time in Alabama. I got to see a lot of civil rights landmarks and stuff like that, so that was really cool.”

The bulk of her time, obviously, was spent preparing for the competition. Ceesay competed in the triple jump, placing second and breaking her own record by a half inch with her jump of 40 feet, 4 inches. On preparation for the meet, she says, “In the last two years, I finally figured out what works for me in terms of my mental preparedness. I do the same thing that I’ve done all season, and I think that helps me best, because it keeps my nerves down. I know that if I’m doing the same routine I’ve been doing, and I’ve been doing well at any normal meet, then everything should fall in place if I’m doing everything exactly the same.”

With this preparation heading into her attempts, she then focuses on one thing: “My freshman year I had this coach. . . . He told me before every jump I have to tell myself that I am the sh*t and believe it and take every jump like it was my last one. I still do that to this day. I run through it in my mind.” After this, she gets on the runway and clears her head. She says, “I try to clear my mind so I’m not thinking about anything.”

Clearly this method of preparation has paid off, as Ceesay as earned All-American honors five times, the fifth coming at this NCAAs. As a first-year, she competed in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing 16th with a jump of 35 feet, 3.25 inches. A year later, during the 2015-16 indoor season, she earned her first All-American honors with a Bates record-breaking jump of 38 feet, 1.25 inches. With this jump, she became Bates’s first All-American triple jumper since 1985. She went on to earn four more All-American honors in the event and has broken her record multiple times.

Of this accomplishment, she says, “It’s really exciting. It’s not something that I expected before I got to Bates, but ever since I’ve been here and realized what I’m capable of achieving, I’ve always been working towards it. It’s an honor, and I’m thankful every time I think about it.” As this is her senior year, her last indoor season has come to a close.

Reflecting on all four years of competition, she says, “It’s sad thinking about it coming to an end.” However, despite the emotion, she is proud of her accomplishments and does not wish for anything to have gone differently. She says, “I’ve achieved everything I want to achieve. I’ll walk away knowing I had a great track career, put everything out there, and have no regrets.”

Of this accomplishment, she says, “It’s really exciting. It’s not something that I expected before I got to Bates, but ever since I’ve been here and realized what I’m capable of achieving, I’ve always been working towards it. It’s an honor, and I’m thankful every time I think about it.” As this is her senior year, her last indoor season has come to a close.

Reflecting on all four years of competition, she says, “It’s sad thinking about it coming to an end.” However, despite the emotion, she is proud of her accomplishments and does not wish for anything to have gone differently. She says, “I’ve achieved everything I want to achieve. I’ll walk away knowing I had a great track career, put everything out there, and have no regrets.”