Booker siblings inspire one another to leap forward

David and Cyinna Booker bring a special attitude of support and encouragement to each other as siblings, as well as everyone on APU’s track and field team.

Both David, a senior, and Cyinna, a junior, chose to attend APU with track and field as their number one priority. Since they joined, they have been comforted by the track and field family who pushes them to perform, specifically in long jump and triple jump.

As a captain on the women’s team, Cyinna has had a unique, dynamic relationship with the other long and triple jump girls.

“I love my teammates,” Cyinna said. “Having the chance to work and compete with them has definitely been a highlight of my seasons here.”

Women’s head coach, Preston Grey, has had the opportunity to train with Cyinna directly through her years at APU. “She is a consistent, solid person,” Grey said. “To see [David and Cyinna] thrive is awesome.”

This outdoor season, Cyinna’s longest triple jump is 39 feet, 8.5 inches, with 19 feet 4.5 inches as her record long jump. Last indoor season, Cyinna earned All-American honors in a triple jump over 40 feet in the preliminary round of the National Championships. She then proceeded to the championship finals, where she ranked fifth.

Even though David did not rank as well in the championships, he still cheered Cyinna on as a supportive brother and teammate.

“I think when one of us has a successful day and the other doesn’t, it gives us both a chance to support each other and bring each other up,” Cyinna said. “If he does well, I get to celebrate with him, and if I don’t do well, he can encourage me.”

This outdoor season, David’s longest record triple jump is 23 feet, 7.25 inches, with a record long jump of 46 feet, 10.75 inches. For David, however, being in track and field is not about the records, but more about growing in relationships with Cyinna and the rest of the team.

Men’s track and field head coach Kevin Reid, has worked in the athletic department for over 20 years. Since David transferred to APU from Fresno City College, Reid has been directly involved in his athletic career.

“David does his work and is very task oriented,” Reid said. “[David and Cyinna] are both very close, and very kind, which translates around the team.”

In order to inspire one another athletically, David and Cyinna embrace the spirit of encouragement by challenging one another.

Coach Grey has noticed Cyinna and David’s friendly competition during track meets and practice. “They have a little bit of a sibling rivalry,” Grey said. “But they’re also each other’s biggest fans.”

When Cyinna graduated high school, she immediately joined APU, which prompted David to transfer here to join her. “Its beneficial just being around each other everyday,” Cyinna said. “Even for a few hours.”

Being without his sister in Fresno was rough for David as a brother and as an athlete. Once he transferred, both siblings felt a sense relief.

“I didn’t get to see her compete at all when I was in Fresno,” David said. “But now I get to see her learn, and love what she is doing as she takes her talents to another level.”

As first-generation college students, the duo grew up in what David describes as, “not the best area.” Being here at APU has propelled both siblings with thankfulness for their loving and supportive team.

“The relationships with my teammates are very special,” David said. “I’ve had the privilege to get to know a number of them this year through a captain-led Bible study and it has definitely helped me grow in my faith.”

Looking forward this semester, the track and field team will be participating in the PacWest Championships at Point Loma Nazarene University on April 28-29.

At the same conference last year, several track and field athletes (including Cyinna) saw improved marks and times.

“We ended with men and women coming out on top overall,” Cyinna said. “I think we’re in a good spot to do that again this year.”

After David’s graduation this spring, Cyinna will continue to pursue track and field, inspired by his “Godly character” and loving support.

“I just want to be a better jumper next season,” Cyinna said. “Get stronger, faster and work on perfecting my technique.”

In the meantime, both David and Cyinna will continue to inspire each other and their teammates with love and encouragement in order to athletically perform at new championship levels.

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