By Jeremy Gonzales
Assistant Sports Editor
Editor’s note: In honor of the 50th year of Toro Athletics, the Bulletin will commemorate the greatest achievements, moments, and athletes in sports history at CSUDH through this column, where we will recount one notable sports achievement, athlete, or moment every issue.
Sometimes, life’s greatest successes come when you aren’t even thinking about them. Consider Carmelita “The Jet” Jeter. Growing up, her primary sport was basketball, which she played at Bishop Montgomery High School. Needing something to help her stay in shape during the off-season, she decided to join the school’s track and field team.
Some 10 years later, Jeter was crowned the world’s fastest woman. And that isn’t hyperbole. Jeter set the record time in the 100-meters in 2008, running a record time of 10.67 seconds in the 2009 Shanghai Golden Grand Prix. Three years later, she won three medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
And she credits a large part of her success from her four years as a Toro, from 2000 to 2003, and working with head track and field coach Warren Edmonson.
“Going to Dominguez Hills ended up being the best thing for me,” said Jeter. “Sometimes you go to a bigger school and you get lost in the system and people don’t really care as much. I had the opportunity to go somewhere where the coach really cared if I graduated.”
Before Jeter wore the red, white, and blue for Team USA, she wore Toro cardinal and gold, representing CSUDH as a track and field athlete while attempting to get her bachelor’s degree in physical education.
Her love for speed came when she was at Bishop Montgomery High School, where she originally joined her school’s track & field team to help maintain her fitness in the offseason for her primary sport, basketball. But she developed a passion for running on the track.
“What I love about track & field is you get all the credit and have no one to blame,” said Jeter. “In basketball, it takes a team to win, but in track & field, it’s so individualized. I love it. That’s why I continued to run track.”
At CSUDH, “The Jet” ran various indoor and outdoor events for the track & field team from 2000 through 2003. During her final season running track as a Toro in 2003, she produced stellar performances across the board, setting school records in the 55-meter dash (indoor), 60-meter dash (indoor), and 200-meter dash (indoor).
During that 2003 season, Jeter also set a school record in the 100-meter dash (outdoor) and was 0.02 seconds shy of tying her own record in the 200-meter dash (outdoor) that she set back in 2000.
She earned a spectacular six 1st-team All-American Awards and became the university’s first U.S. Olympics trials qualifier during her career as a Toro.
After her time at CSUDH, Jeter went on to win three medals for team USA in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She earned a gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay, silver in the 100-meter and a bronze in the 200-meter.