Daylon Daily: Hardest Meet, Greatest Reward

I realize I’m jumping for my entire family and not just myself

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

Throughout life, we are presented with different challenges that we must overcome. My challenges in life have always been centered around track because that’s where I get tested through my mind, body and spirit. The Pac-12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships was where that test started.

Before the Pac-12 Outdoor Championship, I competed in the Fresno State Invitational which was a hard meet because I was recovering from my toe injury and developing shin splints where I jumped only 6 feet 4 inches. I knew for next week, I really needed to focus on staying as consistent as I can be in every aspect of my life.

My father gave me guidance back in high school when I had a bad meet to focus on the next meet ahead and to keep treading forward. Heading into the week of Pac-12s, I pushed myself beyond my limits in class and practice.

I sacrificed my time where I would be hanging out with friends or having leisure time to focus on tutoring for hard classes and taking care of my body for the meet ahead. This meet not only helped me develop my mindset for future meets, but the way I live my life as well. 

When the time came to head off to the bus to travel to Eugene, Oregon on a Wednesday morning, I felt the cold weather give my body goosebumps as I exited my apartment, but I was unfazed because of my mission to chase an NCAA appearance. The bus ride was long, seven hours to be specific, but I used that time to stay caught up with school and get my mind in the right headspace.

During long bus rides, I like to focus on having my mind, body and spirit all aligned where each becomes one. That’s where I am at my strongest and on the bus ride, I felt that way despite having three days until competition. During the three days I had off in Eugene, I spent quality time with my friends on the team eating at different restaurants and exploring Eugene, but I did not want to get sidetracked during the trip. 

Calling my parents and talking to them helped me stay focused because they always offer me the best advice and having the simplest of conversation always help because it shows that I’m not just jumping for myself, I have people in my life who care about me and want to see me prosper which was an essential piece heading to the meet.

In a flash, Saturday was here and competition was underway. As I stepped foot on Hayward Field, the feeling of nervousness and excitement rushed through my mind because I was excited to be competing at a high level. For me to compete at this high of a level is something that I never take for granted.

Doing warmups with Mitch, I felt fluid and springy which is essential for a high jumper. After 30 minutes, we were called over for roll call to head over to the stadium to start competition. As I entered the stadium, I noticed my friends Daniel, James and Sam watching me which fueled my fire even more.

As competition started, I was inconsistent with my jumps, but I was still in the fight. I knew there were things I needed to change in order to jump 6 feet 8 inches such as my posture and my speed. When I fixed it, the jump was easily the best jump I took in my college career because of how I combined each trait and made it work. I was getting fired up and I developed goosebumps across my body because I had never felt this way before. 

Even though I missed my attempt at 6 feet 9 inches which would have been a college personal best, the fact I could jump 6 feet and 8 inches while recovering from a toe injury and dealing with the daily challenges of being a student-athlete is worth praise and set the standard of what I can do this year.