RENO, Nev. — University of South Carolina track & field alumna Cheslie "Ceci" Kryst won the 2019 Miss USA competition, held Thursday, May 2 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.
Kryst graduated cum laude from the Darla Moore School of Business in 2013 with a bachelor's in marketing and human resources. She went on to Wake Forest University, where she earned both a JD and an MBA.
Kryst is now a civil litigation attorney at Poyner Spruill in Charlotte, N.C. She is licensed to practice law in both South Carolina and North Carolina.
"It was fun watching Ceci tell her story last night," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "In college, she was a tremendously motivated person, and she motivated everyone around her. We have a slogan - 'if it's to be, it's up to me.' I'm so proud of our alumni who take that slogan and serve as forward thinkers and role models."
"Ceci was the model student-athlete in every way," said Carolina assistant head coach Delethea Quarles. "She was very disciplined, an extremely hard worker, diligent in the classroom and always willing to volunteer her time for community service projects."
Still can’t believe this is real!!! https://t.co/vc8EAGWYlx— Cheslie Kryst (@MissNCUSA) April 23, 2019
A four-year member of the track & field program, Kryst came to Carolina in 2010 after winning a county long jump title at Fort Mill High School in Fort Mill, S.C. With the Gamecocks, she competed in the long jump, triple jump and multi events.
Kryst still holds three marks on Carolina's all-time top-10 records list. She is ranked ninth all-time in program history in the outdoor triple jump, 10th in the indoor triple jump and 10th in the heptathlon. She's one of just two Gamecocks in history to score over 4,000 points in the heptathlon and triple jump over 40 feet.
The Championship Experience includes academics, and we meant it.— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) January 16, 2019
Our student-athletes have set records this semester. They have earned the highest semester departmental GPA... ever.
See for yourself 👉 https://t.co/qD5CFipKEt pic.twitter.com/13b0ohXdiy
"I'm always proud of our Gamecocks who go on to make an impact in the world, and it brings be an incredible amount of joy to watch Ceci succeed, not just as Miss USA but also as an attorney," Quarles added. "She's following her dreams and making it happen."
South Carolina is back in action next week for the 2019 SEC Outdoor Championships. The battle for conference glory will be held May 9-11 in Fayetteville, Ark.