Austin Hernandez and Tyler Cash are best friends. They know each other because they both go to Canyon High School, but they’ve been bonded together by high jumping.
The two train together during the week and on the weekends as well, which has led to success for Hernandez, a junior, and Cash, a senior.
Hernandez saw a major payoff from all the hard work on Feb. 8 when he won the high jump event at the Winter Championship at Arcadia High School by clearing 6-foot-6, which is also a new personal record.
“It felt really really good,” Hernandez said. “I had a lot of competition there and I was super excited to jump against those good names. I was really just hoping to PR at 6-4 and I ended up making 6-6.”
Hernandez said that he considers Cash, who recently cleared 6-8 to win the Simi Valley All-Comers meet, an older brother.
“We’ve been jumping together, him and I, on the field and off the field and working at the gym,” Hernandez said. “We teach each other a lot. We work out on the weekends together and we learn more about each other and about our individual technique and coach each other.”
While Cash just started competing in the high jump when he reached high school, Hernadez estimates he’s been high jumping since the third or fourth grade when he joined a youth track and field program.
When he neared the end of middle school, Hernandez began taking it more seriously. He realized that if he kept working hard at his craft, a college scholarship may come his way.
The goal seemed even more within reach when Cash committed to San Jose State.
“It seems a lot closer in reach now that my best friend is committed,” Hernandez said. “I was super happy for him and now I hope to compete with or against him in college. It seems a lot closer now but I know I’ve got to keep working.”
In addition to securing a college scholarship before he graduates, Hernandez has a few short term goals. He wants to clear 6-10 and also make it to the CIF State meet. Last season, Hernandez’s postseason run ended in the CIF-Southern Section prelims.
He said that high jump is a detailed craft that requires constant adjustments. He’s gotten taller, which has helped him lengthen his stride and get him a little more speed when approaching the bar.
“Every year we hope to improve,” Hernandez said. “You do something right and there’s something else wrong you have to fix. You have to listen to your coaches, trust what they say and it’s going to help you.”
Foothill League track and field competition begins on March 12 when the Cowboys host Saugus at 3 p.m. In addition to some other nonleague meets, Hernandez said that he’ll be competing in Arcadia once again later in the season.
“Next goal is probably Arcadia when the competition is fierce, and go to 6-10. “I really thrive in that competition. I love it. Meeting new people. Everybody jumps different. Everyone has an approach to the bar and over the bar and you learn and get better.”