Beth Alford-Sullivan, the University's Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, made the comment as she announced Tennessee's latest group of recruits recently. She praised Tennessee associate head coach Travis Geopfert for convincing Pinnock to come to Knoxville. "Coach Travis has landed one of the best talents in the world with Wayne Pinnock from Kingston College in Jamaica," Alford-Sullivan said.
In the full knowledge that Pinnock set Boys and Girls Championships records of 8.05 metres in the long jump and 13.06 in the 110 metre hurdles last year after taking the long jump bronze medal at the 2018 World Under 20 Championships, the director continued, "Wayne will have an immediate impact with the jumps squad, joining forces in the long jump with SEC Field Athlete of the Year Carey McLeod."
McLeod has improved immensely since landing at Knoxville. The long and triple jump winner for Kingston College at Champs in 2017 McLeod bounded 8.19 metres during the 2020 indoor season. He duly won the South Eastern Conference (SEC) long jump title with that personal best and placed second in the triple jump with an effort measured at 16.49 metres.
That combination earned McLeod the SEC Field Athlete of the Year award. By comparison, he posted marks of 7.72 and 15.72 metres respectively to do the Champs double in 2017.
His progress didn't go unnoticed by Pinnock who said, "Tennessee has a good program in terms of jumps and hurdles and I believe I will strive there. I think it's the right place for me to become the next upcoming athlete in the world."
Both were coached by Jeremy Delisser at Kingston College.
The Jamaican pair of Ayesha Champagnie and Nayoka Clunis will also be competing for Tennessee next season. Champagnie, a multi-event standout from STATHS, and Clunis, a talented thrower from Excelsior, have both completed their first degree studies at the University of Minnesota. They will do graduate studies at Tennessee and arrive with one outdoor season of eligibility remaining.
The announcement was made on the University's website.
Pinnock is the latest in a long line of Jamaicans to attend the Knoxville institution. Amomg those to precede him are Cathy Rattray, who set a world indoor 500 metre best before winning the 1984 NCAA title when she was there, Rattray's fellow Olympians Ilrey Oliver, Veronica Findlay and Kali Davis-White and World Championship team member Patricia Hall.