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Clemson Track & Field Feature: April Sinkler

Clemson Track & Field Feature: April Sinkler

April 29, 2010

April Sinkler is quickly becoming one of the most decorated athletes in Clemson women’s track & field history. The red-shirt sophomore from Stafford, VA is already a six-time individual ACC champion and a three-time recipient of ACC MVP honors. This year, she also helped the Lady Tigers complete the first ever sweep of an indoor-outdoor conference championship in the same season.

Sinkler began participating in track & field in middle school when she was 13, and then continued her career as a standout at the high school level. While also earning varsity letters in basketball and soccer, Sinkler dominated the track & field scene as a senior. She was an All-State honoree in the high jump, long jump and triple jump that year. At the Nike Outdoor Nationals in 2007, she was national champion in the high jump and runner-up in the triple jump.

Sinkler knew she wanted to come to Clemson to continue her career after taking an official visit to campus.

“The people were so welcoming and inviting,” she said. “The atmosphere was laid back and it really matched my personality.”

She has been an asset to the Clemson women’s track & field program ever since. As a freshman during the 2008 indoor season, Sinkler had a strong impact for the Lady Tigers in the jumps. She quickly moved into second place on the school’s all-time high jump list with a clearance for 5’8.75″ at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet, where she finished third. Her freshman outdoor season was slowed by injury, however, Sinkler tied for first place in the high jump at the Georgia Tech Invitational, clearing a career-high tying 5’8.75″. She also earned USA Junior All-America honors in the high jump and long jump in 2008.

During her second indoor season for the Tigers, Sinkler moved to third on the school’s all-time triple jump list, posting an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 42’8.75″. Sinkler then went on to win an ACC crown in both the high jump and the long jump. She established school records in both events, clearing 5’11.5″ in the high jump and 21’4.25″ in the long jump.

She was Clemson’s first high jump champion ever in women’s track & field at the ACC level and was also the first long jump champion for the Tigers on the women’s side since 2004. She was also named the ACC Most Valuable Field Event Athlete at the indoor championship meet. Sinkler then red-shirted the 2009 outdoor season as Clemson stockpiled talent with the hope of making a championship run in 2010.

The 2010 indoor season was a productive one for Sinkler. She won her second straight ACC high jump crown, surpassing the six-foot mark for the first time in Clemson women’s track & field history. She surpassed her own school record set during the 2008 season with a 6’0.75″ clearance. In the long jump, Sinkler once again broke her own school record with a distance of 21’6″ and also repeated as an ACC champion in the event.

She was named the ACC Most Valuable Field Event Athlete at the indoor meet for the second straight season. She also placed fourth in the triple jump, making her the highest scoring field event athlete at the ACC meet, helping the Lady Tigers capture the ACC Indoor Championship for the second time in school history. She finished the indoor season as an All-American in both the long jump and triple jump.

Sinkler entered the 2010 ACC Outdoor Championships, held in Clemson, as one of the favorites to win the three jumping events. She won her first title of the weekend on Friday, Apr. 16 with a season-best 21’0.75″ mark in the long jump. She placed fourth in the triple jump, with a personal outdoor best of 42’11”.

When she got to the line to compete in the high jump, it was her first high jump attempt in competition since the NCAA indoor national championship meet.

“I was really nervous before that jump, especially since it was my first outdoor meet and I was the first one to go,” she said.

She did not let her nerves get the best of her, clearing 5’11.25″ on her first attempt, setting another school record and winning her second ACC title of the meet.

“It felt great to get over that first height and be able to pull off another championship, especially in front of the home crowd,” Sinkler said.

Sinkler has captured six individual ACC championships in her career; only five females in Clemson history have won more. She was also named the ACC Most Valuable Women’s Outdoor Field Event Athlete. This was the third time in her career she was named ACC MVP; only Kim Graham (1989-93) has earned more conference MVP honors with four.

Although Sinkler is on her way to becoming one of the most decorated women’s field event athletes in Clemson history, she is still a humble individual who credits much of her success to her family.

“My biggest inspirations are my parents,” Sinkler said. “They have always encouraged me and supported my endeavors. They have both shaped who I am and they have worked hard to achieve their goals. They always see the big picture and look at the positives in everything. Without them, I don’t believe that I would have become as successful as I have been in track & field.”

Sinkler, a pre-professional health studies major, will complete an internship this summer that will help her decide whether she is interested in ultimately becoming a nurse or a physical therapist.

“I would love to pursue a career as a professional athlete, too,” Sinkler said, with a smile.

Although she is already a champion and holds school records in the indoor and outdoor high jump – as well as the indoor long jump – she isn’t settling.

“Ultimately I want to hit 6’3″ in the high jump, 22’4″ in the long jump and around 44′ in the triple jump,” she said.

With such lofty goals, Sinkler is likely to see more ACC championships come her way and her own school records fall…again.