PCC Student Receives Track Scholarship at MSU

06 July 2020

Recent Pratt Community College (PCC) graduate, Keshun Byrd, is spending his summer training and preparing for his transition to Mississippi State University (MSU). Byrd will be a member of the track & field program competing in the triple jump.  

“Training started slow as I pulled my hamstring, but I am back in business,” said Byrd. “Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have weights at 7:00 am and Monday through Friday I am on the track.” 

Byrd grew up in Ellenwood, GA and attended Ceder Grove high school. He initially started competing in track and field in the eighth grade as a sprinter, but stopped in the ninth grade to focus on his initial passion which was basketball. Byrd picked up track and field again his sophomore year.  

“My coach came to me my junior year and said you look like you could be a jumper and after trying it out and working on the techniques he put me in regionals,” said Byrd. “After I placed 12th at state and missed the finals my junior year of high school my mind was set on my senior year to work hard, do what I was supposed to do, and to move on.” 

In Byrd’s senior year he set the triple jump record at his high school, had the best triple jump in the state of Georgia, was invited to the New Balance Nationals, and was recognized at the Powerade All-Metro Award Banquet hosted by the Atlanta Track Club.  

In addition, Byrd went on to win state his senior year in the triple jump. After winning state, Byrd began receiving scholarship offers. PCC was one of the schools that sent him an offer. Former head track and field coach Jamaal Barnes initially reached out to Byrd’s high school coach.  

The first meeting took place between Coach Barnes and Byrd at a Chick-Fil-A in Georgia. During the initial meeting Byrd could tell that Coach Barnes was interested in him and showed him what he could accomplish at PCC.  

“I want to say thank you to Pratt because they took a chance on me when nobody else didn’t want to take a chance,” said Byrd. “Pratt is forever in my heart regardless of how small it is, regardless of if I say it is boring, whatever anybody else says about Pratt I don’t care because if I didn’t go to Pratt, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”  

During Byrd’s time at PCC he majored in physical education, was involved as a resident assistant his sophomore year, and worked for the athletic department. On the track Byrd competed in the 4x400m relay, 60m sprint, long jump and triple jump. He currently holds both the PCC indoor and outdoor triple jump record.  

Byrd broke the indoor triple jump record with a jump of 15.32 meters at the 2019 NJCAA Region VI Indoor Championships. Byrd broke the outdoor triple jump record with a jump of 15.45 meters at the 2019 NJCAA Region VI Outdoor Championships. 

“When I broke the record honestly, I was shocked,” said Byrd. “I was proud of myself, but I also told myself we have to go further. It was a great moment and I will always remember it” 

Byrd credits PCC for teaching him how to manage and spend money, to stay on top of everything from classes to being a student athlete, and finally how to be on your own. The favorite part about attending PCC for Byrd was the friends he had and the faculty and staff that helped him along the way. 

In the fall Byrd will begin his junior year of college majoring in mechanical engineering at MSU located in Starkville, Mississippi. On the track he will be classified as a sophomore since missing this past season due to COVID-19.  

“My goals are to break both the indoor and outdoor triple jump school record,” said Byrd. “To qualify for nationals and if we can’t win as a team then to win nationals in the triple jump.”  

During his time at MSU Byrd hopes to graduate with his Bachelor’s degree. After graduation his ultimate goals is become a professional triple jumper and compete in the Olympics.  

“Honestly, I would have to train hard, take care of my body and eat right, and do my work in the classroom that is basically the main points,” said Byrd. “Trust coach and make sure I am doing the right things with my techniques and ask the right questions.”  

The mission of Pratt Community College is maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service, and community enrichment.
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