The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Jacinta Arnold of Penn women’s track and field 15 questions about her time with the team, her experience at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the sophomore had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Jacinta. I’m 19 years old. I'm a sophomore at Penn, studying neuroscience and minoring in consumer psychology. I’m Canadian. I’m from Toronto. And I do the triple jump on Penn’s track team.
2. How does it feel to be competing again?
Oh, it's so nice. We haven't competed since last February, so it's been really good to get back into the competitive mindset and have a goal to look forward to when you're training.
3. What's been your favorite Penn track and field moment so far?
I mean, there’s just a lot of things that I really enjoy about Penn’s track team. At all the meets, we’re all really supportive and really show up to support each other when we compete, which is really nice. Or even just at training — even though we're in separate groups, sometimes we work out in the same area. So we’ll all cheer each other on while we’re dying. That really helps. Or after practice, we'll all meet up and eat in the dining hall, especially last year. So after a hard practice, we all go to eat, and just talk, which I really like.
4. When did you settle into doing track?
I did gymnastics for 10 years. And I came to, like, a certain point where I didn't necessarily want to do that anymore, but my parents didn’t want me to quit. And I really always loved doing track and field. So in Grade 10, I did both track and field and gymnastics competitively. And I really liked track, so then I quit gymnastics and focused on track, and after that, I decided that I would love to continue doing this in university if that was possible.
5. Do you have a favorite gymnast to watch?
Simone Biles, she's amazing. I don't know how she does everything she does. She comes out with new skills too, which is pretty crazy.
6. If you could bring any of your teammates to help you survive on a deserted island, who would it be?
Probably [Penn women's track and field junior] Tamara [Grahovac]. She's another triple jumper, and she's super tall. So I feel like she may be able to help me reach things that I wouldn’t be able to reach, and she seems pretty smart. And we're both in Canada, so we have a lot of things in common.
7. If you could bring any of your coaches to help you survive on a deserted island, who would it be?
Probably coach Moose [Akanno], which is my coach. He's still very athletic. I feel like he’d be able to survive for a long time, so I’d just follow him around so I could live.
8. Did you pick up anything new over quarantine?
I started watching a lot of anime actually, which I really like. So now I’m a big anime fan.
9. What’s the best or worst book that you’ve ever read?
My least favorite book is probably "1984." I just could not stand the entire book; I was just so annoyed reading it. I don’t have a favorite book. I like to read anything that’s fiction. Top series are probably "Harry Potter" or "Shadowhunters," "Percy Jackson," stuff like that.
10. If you had one wish that could be granted, what would it be?
Just that I was always happy in life. That would be nice.
11. What's your cheat meal?
I feel like everyday's kind of a cheat meal. I eat pretty badly, to be honest. Ice cream’s probably my favorite food, I can eat that any day. Cookies and cream’s [a] classic.
12. Where’s better, Canada or America?
13. When we’re watching Penn track and field, who should we be on the lookout for, besides yourself?
I’ll give a shoutout to my teammate Tamara for triple jump. She’s doing pretty awesome and made the top-10 list in her first few jumps. Also freshman Bella [Whittaker], she’s a sprinter and is doing amazing as well.
14. What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably to just believe in myself and continue working hard to accomplish my goals. And that it’ll all work out in the end.
15. What are you most looking forward to for the rest of your time at Penn?
I’m really looking forward to Penn Relays. We didn’t have one last year, and this year is different, so I’m excited to have a real, full-on Penn Relays next year. And making it onto the top-10 list for triple jump is definitely one of my goals.
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