Heading into Big East Championships, DePaul runner and jumper shines


DePaul Athletics

Tori Carroll races past a teammate and Illinois State opponent.

Ultimately, no matter how eloquent or vocal, an athlete is at their best when they compete at a high level every day, every practice — or every event, in the case of junior DePaul track and field sprinter and jumper Tori Carroll.

“She always competes at a high level,” DePaul assistant track and field coach Stephanie Williams said. “She’s what we consider a gamer. So regardless of what’s going on at the meet, she is going to step up and rise to the occasion and perform. Every time.”

Hailing from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Carroll came to DePaul in 2019 after a high school career that included runner-up finishes in the long jump at the Michigan 2018 and 2019 Indoor State Championships.

Her evolution as a sprinter and long jumper only accelerated after joining the Blue Demons in the fall of 2019.

“I started track when I was seven but didn’t really start, well, trying, until high school,” Carroll said. “I did the 100, 200, and long jump. I hated the 200, but the other two were good. Track was fun, but I didn’t start really getting good at track until I got here.”

As with many things in the last few years, the beginning of Carroll’s career was put in flux due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on collegiate athletics.

Despite that misfortune, Carroll has consistently put up high or first place finishes across her time at DePaul, highlighted by shattering the DePaul women’s record in the long jump last month.

“So last year, we dealt with adversity to the point that we didn’t even run the 4×100 [relay] until conference,” Williams said. “We ended up almost winning, and Tori was our anchor. We got second, and almost broke the school record. That’s really the experience with Tori, just understanding she’s reliable and she’s that competitor every time.”

In a season highlighted by Carroll’s personal achievements — including a recent third place finish and personal best and near school record 11.61 in the 100 meter dash at the Clark Wood Invitational last weekend — Carroll’s competitiveness, drive to win and personality are not lost on her teammates either.

“Tori, she’s a character,” senior long jumper and sprinter Esther Aldana said. “Very goofy, so she brings that fun side to the team but when it’s time to compete, it’s time to compete. She gets very locked in and serious — she’s never satisfied, always locked in and determined.”

While being such a successful athlete and letting her character shine through, Carroll also does her best to lead during competition in her own way.

“It’s not really a vocal type [of] leadership,” Carroll said. “I just like to, you know, encourage that camaraderie and hard work. I do consider myself a leader, it’s just not really a vocal thing to me.”

Whether it is spoken or not, Carroll’s exemplary leadership and excellence within her event groups is invaluable for her teammates.

“I think seeing her driving her passion for the sport and then her wanting her teammates to do just as well — and have that same passion and drive — she just kind of brings it out of you,” Aldana said.

A paramount part of coaching, beyond strategy and preparation, is recognizing who stands out as leaders on your team — something Carroll has managed, too, with her intensity standing out to her coaches every time she steps on the track.

As the Blue Demons head into the closing stretch of their season with the Big East Championships approaching on May 13th, the team has high aspirations. Through her example and brilliance in each of her events, Carroll can be an integral part to bringing home trophies during the Big East Championship this upcoming weekend.

As a true “gamer,” Carroll will go out and do what she does best — compete.

“I just have to jump far and run fast,” Carroll said. “I don’t really put any marks on it, because that’s when it gets weird in my mind. So I’m just going to go out there, and we’ll see what happens.”