Daylon’s Daily: 6-feet-7-inches: the numbers that changed everything

Hicks is a scholar student-athlete; honored last week


Courtesy of Andy Thill

Hicks prepares to jump at The Podium in Spokane.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

With practice and preparation comes confidence. After last week’s meet ended in a way that affected me both mentally and physically, I knew I needed a change in the way I approach my daily life.

This is the second time that I have had to make this change in my track career. In high school, I focused more on how to jump better and get strong physically, but I needed to get strong mentally.

I entered Monday’s practice determined but overwhelmed – my mind tends to get nervous whenever something is on the line. This meet could have been my last for the season as I had not been jumping very well since my injury.

After practice on Monday, I focused on meditation, one of the main ways to find yourself and discover who you truly want to be. My grandfather passed two weeks ago, and he taught me the importance of bending but not breaking. It was especially difficult during the week because grieving felt the best option; however, I knew that he wanted me to succeed, not just for my family but for myself as well.

Thinking of him, I felt instantly motivated and determined because I knew that is what he would have wanted for me. I also knew that I did not want to take off for him because my grandfather emphasized how important it is to pursue what I am involved in and to always keep my head up.

With my grandfather’s words in my mind, I felt myself getting better not just in track but in life as well, earning accolades and receiving good grades.  

All the positivity in my life from the week motivated my jumping as I entered Saturday’s meet. Despite my frustration about missing the Don Kirby Invite, which was one of the biggest meets of the indoor season, I knew that going to the Whitworth Invitational would be best for me performance-wise.  

I woke up at 4:30 a.m., which is when I would normally feel tired and dazed, but instead, my mind felt determined. I felt like a soldier ready to complete their mission. Walking in the 20-degree weather, my thoughts were focused on the objectives I needed to complete for this meet. I knew the main goal I had in mind was to jump a personal record and build from that. I needed every jump to be consistent because consistency fuels me.  

After the hour-long drive, we finally entered The Podium, the newly acclaimed building for track and field in Spokane. Competition started at 9 a.m., and I felt anxious because I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to achieve success.

After minutes of waiting and watching other people jump, the official finally called my name, giving me the green light to jump. I felt nervous with goosebumps running down my body, but I remembered the words of my grandfather and the preparation I made last week for this meet. 

Jumping my first two heights to perfection, I finally reached the stage of having the opportunity of jumping a personal best. I missed the first attempt, but I knew the steps to fix my mistakes.  

On the second attempt at 6-feet-7-inches, I made it with ease, and it felt like the weight on my shoulders from not jumping well fell off. The accomplishment of hitting a new PR only helped me get stronger and determined for next week, jumping for even higher heights.