Tyler Cash arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina on Thursday morning. On Friday morning, he was preparing to compete against the top high jumpers in the nation at the National Junior Olympics.
But before he could even attempt to beat his competition, he had to beat jet lag.
“It screwed me up a lot,” Cash, who competes for Canyon during the prep track season, said. “I just took a nap and woke up with a huge headache.”
Cash was able to focus up mentally – with the help of some cryotherapy and compression treatments – and clear six feet, 2.75 inches for third place and All-American honors in the 15-16 age division, which consisted of 47 jumpers.
He followed first-place Trey Tintinger, who jumped 6-10.75 and second-place Stanley Funches, Jr., who made 6-4.75.
“Motivation for me was easy today because my motivation was my dad paying all this money to take me to North Carolina and I was in a national competition competing with people all over the country. That was a big eye opener for me. Like, ‘oh shoot, that’s crazy.’”
Cash almost didn’t make it to the Junior Olympics, which were held at North Carolina A&T University. In the weeks leading up to the event, the junior to-be struggled to clear six feet at practice.
He made a deal with his dad that he would only be allowed to compete if he could get over the six-foot mark.
“My PR is 6-4, but I haven’t been able to get that lately, so I was kind of worried,” Cash said.
With the fact that he had placed first in the divisional and regional Junior Olympics, Cash developed consistency with his jumps to gain some confidence and a trip to North Carolina.
There, he was further motivated by high level of talent from his fellow jumpers and the pool of college recruiters that were watching.
“If I have competition, I will jump better,” Cash said. “If everybody gets out at 5-10, then I’ll probably only go like six feet. Not on purpose just because I have no motivation to get higher.”
With the top-three finish under his belt, Cash has a newfound ambition for the upcoming Foothill League track and field season.
His plan is to take a month off from jumping and focus on sprints and working out his legs. He’ll also begin training to become a decathlete.
“I’m going to do it again and then hopefully surprise myself,” Cash said of high jumping. “It kind of lit a spark in me and just fired me up for track season.”