PHILADELPHIA (BVM) — Records were made to be broken. Skyla Wilson, a track star from the University of Pennsylvania, has made a habit of smashing one record after another. Now midway through her senior season, there aren’t many Penn records left for her to break.
Wilson’s name is frequently found in Penn’s track program records books. This season alone, she has had her name added six times, five of which were individual events. She now holds first place all time in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.52 (outdoor) and first in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.29 (indoor).
Other successes this season include being ranked sixth all time in the 100-meter dash (outdoor), tied for eighth in the 200-meter dash (outdoor) and second in the 200-meter dash (indoor).
“It’s not my best event, but my favorite event is the 100-meter hurdles,” she said. “I would say my best event is the 400-meter hurdles.”
Her accolades include not only individual events, but relays as well.
“I’m most proud of being on the 4×400 (relay), that I was able to race for the outdoor record and qualify for nationals,” Wilson said. “That was a really cool experience to be on that team and share the fun of making it.”
The 4×400-meter relay has been Wilson’s most successful event, with her squad making Penn’s top-10 list seven times between indoor and outdoor meets.
Thanks to the support of her teammates and coaches, Wilson feels encouraged to run her best and let the chips fall where they may.
“My teammates support me in the way they’re always checking in on me,” she said. “I feel like they know that I get nervous before a meet so they’ll check in on me and see how I’m feeling and hype me up.
“My coaches have a lot of expectations but they also are really adamant in making sure I know that I’m running for me and the team and not to put any extra pressure on myself.”
Looking at her track career, it’s hard to imagine that Wilson didn’t think about sprinting and hurdles until high school.
“My main sport was cross country,” she said. “I also did soccer and basketball until high school. I mostly did cross country because the school I was at was really good at it. When I switched schools, when I was going from middle to high school, I was like, ‘Let me try something new.’ Both of my parents were sprinters. They encouraged me to switch.”
Switching schools wasn’t just a matter of learning a new bus route. Wilson spent her younger years in Indiana, moving to Pennsylvania as she transitioned into high school.
The switch from long distance to short distance was nearly seamless for Wilson. She credits her parents, especially her mother, for being inspirational role models, both for track and for life.
“She was a hurdler and did track in college,” Wilson said, referring to her mother. “She always has a lot of inspiring words to say and I think it was really impressive that she was able to compete at such a high level.
“She actually had me while she was in college and I thought it was really inspiring that she was able to have me as a child and go back and break some records while she competed at Albany. Her determination and confidence has always been inspiring to me.”
Looking ahead to what the future holds, Wilson is busy applying to different graduate schools.
“I’m currently pre-med but I’m considering other options besides going to medical school,” she said. “I’m looking to do a fifth year and probably get a master’s of public health or something. But my plans are not concrete.”
When asked about a possible run at the Olympics, Wilson responded with a bit of a laugh.
“I definitely haven’t thought that far ahead,” she said.
With another two months left in her senior season, watch for Wilson to hurdle further into Penn’s record book.