Luke Hare, Staff Writer
While spring sports are well underway, let’s not forget about one of the most intriguing upcoming competitions this year. On March 8 and 9 in Pittsburg, Kan., there will be a freshman Saint participating in the high jump. His name is Tyler Cronk, and he is a top-five ranked high jumper in the nation, clearing 2.16 meters. With Cronk advancing to Nationals, he will be the lone representative for the Saints, but gives a lot of credit to his teammates.
“It’s my first time ever jumping in an indoor facility and it is different than an outdoor track,” said Cronk when asked about changing from outdoor to indoor. “The environment that is around you in the indoor track is way different. My teammates are the best because we act like a family and we stick together as a unit and cheer each other on. I wish I could bring them to Nationals with me.”
Even though these are individual qualifications, the team is what really pushes them to reach their full capacity. However, it is to be noted that many other Saints who did not make Nationals placed very high in the GNAC Championships, and some won their events. Kauanoe Vanderpoel claimed the championship in his field after winning the weight throw. The senior’s 17.28 meter mark in the event earned him a spot on the All-Region team. Vanderpoel took home his first GNAC Indoor Championship and second event championship of his career. Keshara Romain, who set the school record in both the long jump at 5.59 meters, and triple jump at 12.01 meters, was selected to the All-Region team and was the only woman selected for the Saints. Jackson Hand also won his event, the men’s 200M. Hand finished with a new school record in the event at 21.92 seconds. Hand’s counterpart in the event, Michael Russell, also earned his first appearance on the All-Region team with a time of 22.12 seconds.
With multiple records set, Cronk is looking to break his own heading into nationals. While it is his first appearance at this level, Cronk believes he has prepared himself for this level of competition, and is eager to get out and show them what he has on the field.
“My expectations on jumping in nationals is that I’m going to jump great and try and aim on taking first because winning nationals as a freshman would be absolutely amazing,” said Cronk. “I know that I’m going to have a lot of competition and I’m really going have to zone in and ‘Get In My Bag’ during this nationals meet in Kansas.”