Daylon’s Daily: The Journeys Within

Traveling to connect with teammates, discovering self


Courtesy of Andy Thill

Hicks prepares to jump at The Podium in Spokane.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

Lately, traveling has provided me with different emotions of excitement and nervousness from competing in track meets. In the last three years, I have not been on a vacation where I had zero worries because traveling at the collegiate level has pretty high demands.

Because I would depart on either a Thursday or Friday for weekend track meets, I would have to plan two weeks ahead. The responsibilities of packing, reaching out to professors and mentally preparing yourself for competition is a lot to unpack, but I became used to it.

I loved the concept of planning ahead and these journeys really helped me prepare for the future. I know down the line when I enter the workforce, everything requires me to be on the ball with organization, and traveling for track gives me a jumpstart on being able to manage my time and plan ahead.

It was a lot to unload the first time going to Seattle during my freshman year where I almost missed the team bus and left my phone in my dorm room. Looking back at it, it is definitely a funny story, but I was overwhelmed and stressed throughout that whole trip and my performance suffered as a result.

I have always loved traveling with my friends on the team because I get the opportunity to make new memories. Eating at new restaurants, exploring new landmarks and times in the hotel rooms where we just have a blast are times that will be eternal no matter what level.

In high school, our track team would compete in Seattle in the University of Washington High School Invitational. Hanging out with my team and exploring iconic spots in Seattle such as the Space Needle or Pike Place Market became time I treasure.

The emotions of excitement from high school carried on to college, but I learned there is a lot more on the line if you do not compete well. I know that if I fail to hit a certain height in a meet, I would possibly not make the travel squad for the next meet.

Being on the travel squad means that you get the opportunity to go toe to toe against higher-ranked competition while venturing to new places. For WSU, the locations that stood out to me last year were Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Arkansas Qualifier and Tempe, Arizona for the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to explore Arkansas, but I got to visit different places in Arizona. I had never been to Tempe, but going there on spring break and being around close friends on the team was a memory that will last a lifetime.

The Baldy Castillo Invitational, however, did not go well for me, but I learned an important lesson that day: do not waste a trip. I focused on making the most out of Arizona while realizing that it was only the start of the season after recovering from a toe injury.

I enjoyed the last two days I was in Arizona, but the thought of determination was in my mind. I started to notice a significant change in my performance. I managed to tie my personal best (6’8.5) in just three meets and I felt my consistency improving as well traveling to California and Oregon.

Heading into my senior year, my goal this time around is to enjoy the times I do travel and the people who I am around. College did indeed go by fast and looking back at freshman year to now, the memories I had while being at WSU mainly was from traveling and going on new journeys.