Surrounded by her mother, two siblings and her coaches, T.C. Williams track star Tynita Butts decided to become a Pirate when her days as a Titan athlete are over.
With only a couple of months left in her stellar high school track and field career, Butts chose to compete for East Carolina University (ECU) starting this fall, picking the Greenville, N.C. campus over schools like the University of Virginia, University of Florida and Louisiana State University.
Butts, who competed in sprinting and jumping events for the Titans, said the decision came down to Virginia or East Carolina, but after visiting ECU over the summer she had pretty much made up her mind.
With a pile of letters of interest from schools all over the country, it was the effort of the Pirates coaches and teammates, along with some cheesecake, that helped win her over.
During a party for her and other recruits visiting campus, Butts said the coaches had brought a big cheesecake (her favorite food) along with some of her prospective teammates favorite foods.
The coaches were great and it seemed like a really cool team, Butts said. They made me feel like a part of the team.
Overall, Butts said the recruiting process was easy and fun – getting to visit several schools, talking with different coaches – and that she had a great time.
As a junior, Butts set the state record in the indoor long jump and won the high jump at the National Scholastic Indoor Track Championships in New York City.
At ECU, a Conference USA school, Butts said she will probably be competing in the long jump, high jump, 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4×100 meter relay. Beyond college, Butts said she hopes she might be able to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team in the long jump.
Scholarship signed, Butts is well aware that very little has changed and there is still work to be done. Ive still got practice today, Butts said ruefully.