Daylon Daily: Season gone so soon

A reflection on the final indoor meet


Courtesy of Andy Thill

Hicks prepares to jump at The Podium in Spokane.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

The week prepping for Ken Shannon Last Chance Invite made me think about the beginning of my journey with track and field. As a kid, track was not my true first love, it was football and basketball.

As I went to high school, I noticed different opportunities to excel at football and basketball started to slip away and I ultimately made the decision to leave those sports for good. It was one of the hardest challenges I had to face, but it was on the track where I found my calling by jumping high.

Fast-forward to the end of my senior year, I was blessed to have the opportunity of jumping for a university on a scholarship where I can support my family while enjoying the benefits that come with being a Division-I athlete.

Provided with nutritious food for free, new gear and being around new people is definitely something I will never take for granted. I gained some friends throughout my time at WSU and I’ve had moments where I grew not only as an athlete but as a person because of the people on the track team.

Taino Ferdinand, Lee Walburn and Lucas Tailin are the main people I surrounded myself with and created memories with this year.

Whether it’s a hard conditioning day on an early Saturday morning or playing “Super Smash Bros.” after a hard day of weight practice, the memories I created with those three people are moments that don’t come by too often.

The last indoor meet of my career was also a moment that I did not want to squander. With the team making the departure to drive early Thursday morning, I only had one jumping session in. In that jumping session, coach Derick Hinch made my goals for that practice the same as every practice throughout the season: stay consistent on the curve and make my last two steps quick.

Taking around five to six jumps, I noticed improvements in running the curve efficiently compared to the last meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

During the six-hour drive to Redmond, I found myself bonding with Jada Van Staden, an 800-meter runner from South Africa. She told me about the different activities to do in South Africa such as paragliding, skiing and her culture as a whole which made the drive enlightening.

The Friday of the meet, I decided to take a walk around the woods near the hotel we were staying at for the weekend. Going on walks gives me an edge mentally because I am able to be in the present and explore more of my environment.

I took different pictures of the architecture that Redmond has to offer. Before I realized it, it was already dark and I needed to prepare for the meet.

After I shut my eyes and fell asleep, I dreamt of accomplishing my goal of having a great jump day one more time for the indoor season.

As I took the bus early in the morning and the soundtrack for “Creed” was playing in my ears, my mindset was to achieve success by any means necessary. If my legs were to hurt throughout the meet, I would work through the pain, but I wanted to win in my own way.

As I took my warm-up jumps, they were fluid, but I found myself missing the bar. I was not concerned because I had faith in myself and in my work.

When I took the first jump at 6 feet 5 inches, I made it with ease and all my nervousness and high blood pressure faded away. Watching the other jumpers, I noticed that they all looked calm and collected, which I managed to achieve at the next height of 6 feet 7 inches.

My run was dynamic and the way I jumped was elegant such that I cleared it by a lot, but I dropped my form too early. The bar managed to stay on, but if I wanted to jump a personal best one last time, I knew not to make that same mistake again.

On the first attempt at 6 feet 9 inches, I missed the bar and I found myself in a similar spot where I was missing my first attempt at a personal best. My coach talked with me and found angles where I needed to improve, such as jumping outside the bar rather than into the bar. I missed the second attempt and I couldn’t figure out why.

I didn’t go to my coach this time around because I was frustrated with myself. I was frustrated to the point where I was punching the turf on the ground.

Chasing a goal of a new personal record always raises pressure, but when I was so close and this jump being the last jump of my indoor career, I was determined to make it by any means necessary.

As my name was called to attempt my final bar, my heart was racing, but the adrenaline kicked in and I turned that fear into courage.

As I took a deep breath, my jump was explosive and I was over the bar by four inches, but I just dropped my butt early where the bar fell off.

As the bar fell, my heart fell as well, because I came up short.

Despite my frustrations of not jumping a new personal record for the indoor season, this season was the most consistent season to date. Jumping a height average of 6 feet 7 inches was huge for me.

I consider my consistency to be a major strength in my track and field career and seeing how the indoor season went, there is no doubt in my mind that I can carry on with the same mindset for the outdoor season. The only difference is that the personal record will be higher and the stakes will be higher as well.