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Oct 21, 2018

Chris McBride

By: SIERRA HEIL

Note: The following appears in the NC State gameday football program


Returning to a sport after injury is a grueling and intensive process on both the mind and the body of any athlete. As an aspiring Olympian and professional long jumper, no one knows the struggle of making a comeback better than track & field standout Chris McBride, who began his jumping career at the age of six and has been setting records ever since.

McBride grew up in Lithonia, Ga., where he began jumping in elementary school. In high school, McBride was a two-time state champion in the long jump, state silver medalist in the triple jump, AAU Club national champion in the long jump and a member of the 2015 all-metro team before coming to Clemson.

During his freshman season as a Tiger, McBride posted a jump that earned him the fifth-best mark in program history. Undeterred from battling tendinitis in his knee the following year, he managed to shatter school records in both the indoor and outdoor long jump as a sophomore.

“It meant a lot to me because one of my goals is to make it to the Olympics and the previous record holder is an Olympian. To be able to break his record showed me that I have the talent to make my dream come true.”

 

After writing his name in the Clemson recordbook in 2017, McBride faced the ultimate challenge. During the first meet of the 2018 season, he tore the patellar tendon in his knee, but he has battled his way back to heighten his abilities in all aspects of the sport.

“I was on the third jump and when I tried to take off, my knee gave out and I tore my patellar tendon. This summer, we’ve done a lot of rehab to stabilize my knee and get strength back in my quad. I’ve also tried to take this time to become stronger mentally.”

His injury not only pushed him to work harder physically to achieve his professional and Olympic goals, it also forced him to recognize the importance of working on his mental grit, an aspect that, according to him, can make or break a jump.

“I do three jumps. A lot of times if my first jump doesn’t go as well as I would like, I would get frustrated and I would mess up my next two jumps. It’s important for me to focus on each jump as it comes because it only takes one jump to win the competition. I have to make sure I’m mentally prepared and stay focused throughout the whole competition.”

Going into his redshirt junior season, McBride has large aspirations for himself and his team. He hopes to win another ACC title, and he also believes his team has the potential to win a national title.

“My main goal is to come back and compete at a national level. I want to win the conference again in the long jump. I also want to win a national championship

 

“We’ve had the talent, but it hasn’t always turned out the way we wanted it to. Still, the attitude we have about winning is a little different from most other programs.”

McBride hopes to continue his long-jumping career after graduating, and he said being a member of the Clemson Family and the track & field program has opened doors for him, no matter what his future endeavors may be.

“Being a part of this program means the coaches really hold you accountable. Even if I didn’t want to go pro and I got a job after Clemson, I would be prepared for it. Being on time and paying attention to small details are just a few of the things they stress in the athletic program. We’re prepared for everything.”

McBride trusts that by working every day at his own pace and focusing on himself instead of what those around him are doing, he is prepared for anything that comes at him this season.

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