In the early stages of the indoor season, the No. 11 Minnesota women’s track and field team is already benefitting from the addition of a six-time national champion.
Junior Ayesha Champagnie transferred to Minnesota after two successful seasons at Barton Community College. Champagnie won back-to-back national titles in the pentathlon, javelin, and heptathlon before coming to Minnesota. In 2016, she set a NCJAA national record in the pentathlon with 4,003 points.
She’s only been with the team for a short while. However, she has already made a good impression on her teammates and coaches.
“She wants to be good,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “She’s one of those kids who comes in, wants to come to work every day, and do the best she can do. She does her job to the best of her ability each day, so she’s one of those kids you just like being around.”
Champagnie is using her success at Barton as motivation to succeed at the Division I level with Minnesota. She wants to be in the top eight at NCAA Outdoor Championships and she’s off to a good start.
She has the third-highest score in the NCAA in the long jump this season at 21 feet, 6.25 inches. She posted this mark during the dual with Wisconsin on Jan. 13.
Champagnie’s recent success in the long jump has made her consider it as one of her favorite events, but it still isn’t top on her list.
“For indoors, my favorite [event] is the 60-meter hurdles,” Champagnie said. “I’m kind of loving the long jump more now, because in the last couple of weeks I got a big [personal record] in it. Outdoors, it’s the hurdles and the javelin.”
Her performance on the track isn’t the only reason Minnesota wanted her. Bingle made it clear that her character and the way she fit with the team played a big role in the recruiting process as well.
“She fit with our team culture, in terms of how we treat people and the priorities we have in our program,” Bingle said. “She fit that. She’s a great athlete. She had a great junior college career and a great high school career.”
Champagnie also feels like she has fit in well with the team so far. The fun she has had has led her to believe that she made the right choice when signing with Minnesota.
“I’m really enjoying [my time with Minnesota so far],” Champagnie said. “I think it was a great decision. I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to the next two years.”