The University of Houston Magazine

Up, Up and Away ...

Senior Chris Carter Leaps Into the Record Books.

UH senior Chris Carter was named Conference USA Male Field Athlete of the Year, adding yet another honor to the student-athlete’s impressive portfolio. Carter swept both the long and the triple jump competitions at this year’s C-USA Indoor Championships and has won two straight C-USA Outdoor Triple Jump titles. He was named an All-American after finishing in fourth place at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Also, he was the C-USA Indoor Triple Jump champion in 2011, 2010 and 2008. Carter, who’ll be competing in the C-USA Outdoor Championships in Houston in mid-May, took time to answer a few questions.

Chris CarterQ: What’s the key to a really good jump? Natural ability? Technique? Concentration?

A: Talent, speed and strength training are all important. The real challenge, though, is putting it all together. Otherwise, you’d just be faster and stronger, but not really go anywhere.

Q: What’s harder – the long jump or the triple jump?

A: For me, the long jump is harder because it’s something that I never really knew how to do — and you only get one jump; whereas in the triple, you get three.

Q: Do you prefer jumping indoors or outdoors?

A: Outdoors. It’s hot, so you don’t have to warm up as much. Plus, you can get a wind advantage, even though it might go against you because your competitors will get the same advantage.

Q: UH is home to one of the best long jumpers ever – Carl Lewis. Did that influence your decision to attend here?

A: That was definitely a main reason I came here. They told me that Carl’s jumping coach (Coach Tom Tellez) would be here helping me out. I knew he had some great points if he coached Carl Lewis, who’s had the most jumps over 28 feet. Carl comes every year at his invitational we hold here, and I’ve gotten a chance to talk with him. My junior year, he gave me a pointer on jumping that I still use today.

Q: Which was?

A: To count my strides while I’m running — not to think about hitting the board. Just focus on my strides. He said to count them quietly in my mind, and let everything else happen. That really helps me a lot.

Q: Besides jumping, you also ran hurdles in high school in Hearne. Did you consider continuing that at UH?

A: Oh yeah, I wanted to run the 400 hurdles. But coach didn’t think it was a good idea since he needed me to concentrate on jumping.

Q: Speaking of Hearne, we have another star athlete at UH from your hometown – receiver Patrick Edwards. What’s your relationship?

A: We’ve known each other since we were 4 years old. It’s like we’re brothers. We’ve competed in sports ever since pee-wee football when we were 9. We always push each other in the weight room and at practices.

Q: You made the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll a few times, which is very impressive since athletes spend so much time training and performing. Are you super smart? Or, do you study super hard?

A: Both, I guess. Can’t say I love studying, but I know if I don’t, I may not always get it down right away. So, I study hard. I’m a sports administration major with a minor in business with a 3.0 GPA right now.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I want to keep jumping for a few years to see where that goes. Then it’s grad school after that. At some point, I hope to become an athletic director or something along those lines.

Q: When you’re soaring through the air on a long jump, ever tempted to yell, “Wheeee!”?

A: No! (laughter)