Note: The following appears in the February edition of Orange The Experience, which should arrive in mailboxes this week. Get to know Clemson track & field jumper extraordinaire, Mimi Land.
By Christine Williamson // Athletic Communications
Q: Why did you choose Clemson?
Land: Clemson wasn’t actually my first choice. I really wanted to be a Florida Gator. That was all I thought about. I didn’t even know where Clemson was. Then, they sent me a questionnaire, so my dad told how they were one of the top schools in the ACC. My dad played for the Raiders with Chester (McGlockton) and James Trapp, who both played here. So, I talked to James Trapp on my visit and Chester actually passed away before I got here, but I talked to him before he passed. They both explained how Clemson was a good school and everybody was like a family. I wasn’t really listening then, but on my visit I just enjoyed everybody. It wasn’t a “team,” it was more like a family. Everyone was very close-knit and together, and it was something that I wanted to be around. I felt like it was somewhere I could grow as a person, and I think I have so far.
Q: What is so special about your team now?
Land: We are really just ourselves. We aren’t trying to impress each other, or one-up each other. We encourage each other. We compete within the family. Of course, you want to be on top but you want to bring your sisters and brothers along with you.
Q: You compete in the high jump, long jump and triple jump — which one do you like more?
Land: I get that question all the time. Having three events is hard, but I don’t really have a favorite. I usually enjoy the one that I’m doing best in at the time. Last indoor season I would say my favorite was high jump because I went to the NCAA Championships and placed fifth. But right now, I would say that they are all at the same level. Now, I do need to work more on the long jump. Triple jump is easier, because I have Iana (Amsterdam) and Whitney (Fountain), so I can chill out and compete with them. I get more nervous to high jump, but I know I can do well, so I’m not terrified. The easiest is triple jump, because I can be laid-back and chill with my teammates and compete with them.
Q: Is there anything you do before a meet to get ready for your events?
Land: Honestly, I pray all the time. Even at practice, I pray for a good practice. That’s something my family instilled in me — to have faith and continue to pray and know that He is with me. I can do all things through Christ; I say that a lot. Also, I love food but I try not to eat too many carbs because “bread makes you spread.” For music, I like to listen to anything upbeat but nothing specific — just anything that will get me hyped. I usually just turn on a Rich Homie Quan or Drake Pandora station.
Q: So, I understand that Nyilah Jamison-Myers from the women’s basketball team is your best friend. How did you guys become so close?
Land: Yes! That is my best friend! I first met Ny the summer that we got here as freshman student-athletes. We were the only girls in one of our required classes, and the boys thought we were going to be quiet. No. We were in that classroom with our attitude on point. If the football players said something smart to us, we would snap back. They knew we were not the ones to hold our tongues. Also, she’s tall; I’m tall. We’re both pretty. So we just looked at each other and said, “You’re my best friend!”
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not competing or practicing?
Land: When I’m not at the track, besides eating, I play music and dance. I love to be in the mirror, so I’m always dancing or doing something with my hair. I like to change my hair a lot. That’s really it. I’m more of a laid-back type of girl. And I’m always on the phone with my mama. I talk to her a lot. My teammates say that all the time — they know I’m on the phone with my mom constantly. We talk before practice, after practice, on the way home, between classes, late at night. We are really close. If I can’t reach her, then I can reach my older cousins or my aunt. Somebody is going to answer the phone for me, or I’m going to blow it up.
Q: So, is your whole family really tight then?
Land: Yes! We are a very close family. My grandma died when I was in 10th grade. It was kind of out of nowhere, she died from cancer, but before she passed she would always have Sunday dinners and our whole family would come. I have a huge family. My grandma had 10 kids, and they all have a lot of kids themselves. Actually, my cousin is on the track team with me — Reggie Lewis. He runs the 60. We actually came to Clemson together. Food brings my family together. I think that’s why Coach (Chris) Bostwick doesn’t want me to go home, because I will get fat. But they try to help with that, too. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had this huge line of food and everybody in the family was like, “I’m watching your plate. “That’s too much, you’re not going to be able to get over the high jump bar.” I do have a little sweet tooth, though. My dad makes red velvet cake and it’s the best! He has to make three, or the family will fight. It gets serious. My teammates are even mad, because he hasn’t brought one yet; they love it. Actually, they love all of my family’s food. My aunts and my mom came not too long ago and made fried fish, baked fish, salad, sausage, biscuits, grits and yellow rice. The team was in love, and then everybody had personal bests and said that it was because of their cooking.
Q: What do you like most about Coach Mark Elliot?
Land: He says all the time that he’s a realist. He doesn’t exaggerate anything or give you false dreams, and I like that. Because he’s not the coach to just tell you that you are going to win. He will tell you, “Ok, you’re not going to win this one but you are much better than last year.” He’s real about everything. Actually, all the coaches are. You don’t want somebody that’s just going to tell you what you want to hear. They are going to give you some good advice and good feedback. I like that. Also, Coach Elliot is so smooth — that’s a smooth man.
Q: Why did you choose early childhood education as your major?
Land: Because I’m a big kid. I enjoy kids and I’m a big fan of SpongeBob Square Pants. I know every episode word-for-word. SpongeBob teaches you life skills. He teaches you about being positive constantly, even though Squidward is very negative. He also teaches you about being a hard worker. Mr. Krabs is cheap and he doesn’t pay SpongeBob enough money, but he’s the best Krabby Patty flipper there is!
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