Former Gamecock athlete takes home Miss USA crown

Gamecock fans may recognize the woman who was crowned Miss USA Thursday night.

Former University of South Carolina track and field athlete Cheslie “Ceci” Kryst, 28, brought home the pageant title.

Kryst began competing at USC in 2010, making her way to and placing at the SEC Indoor Championships on several occasions, according to her profile on the team’s website.

After graduating from the university in 2013 with a degree in marketing and human resources, she went on to study law at Wake Forest University.

Kryst’s former coaches sounded off about the win in a statement from the university’s athletic department.

“It was fun watching Ceci tell her story last night,” head coach Curtis Frye said in the statement. “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.”

The former Gamecock still holds multiple records at USC, according to the statement. She’s ranked ninth overall for the outdoor triple jump, 10th in the indoor triple jump and 10th in the heptathlon.

“Ceci was the model student-athlete in every way,” assistant head coach Delethea Quarles said in the statement. “She was very disciplined, an extremely hard worker, diligent in the classroom and always willing to volunteer her time for community service projects.”

A full-time lawyer and part-time fashion blogger, Kryst represented her home state of North Carolina during the Miss USA competition in Reno, Nevada, Thursday night.

Kryst will go one to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant, which will be hosted in South Korea.

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.