First-time jumper has championship aspirations

First-time jumper has championship aspirations
April 14
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Reynolds high jumper Tremond Wright is tied for first in NCRunners’ state rankings in Class 4-A track and field.



There are instances in which people have no idea what their true talents and skills are. Tremond Wright of Reynolds is a shining example.

Wright, a 6-3 senior, played basketball at Reynolds for four seasons and served as a role player on a state playoff team that finished 23-5. However, what Wright recently discovered is that the high jump is his true calling.

This weekend, Wright gets to prove himself as legitimate contender at the regional and state level when he competes in the Scott Brent Invitational at Mount Tabor. “The Brent” is widely acknowledged as the city-county track and field championships.

Prior to his final year of high school, Wright had never competed in the high jump. So, it came as a huge shock when he cleared 6-feet-6 inches in only his third track meet. Even more noteworthy is that his personal best puts him in a first-place tie with John Dalton of Wake Forest in the NCRunners’ state high jump rankings for Class 4-A.

“I surprised myself,” Wright confessed. “I always felt like basketball was my main sport, so I stayed with it. I finally gave track a try and everything has worked out pretty well.”

Angelique Reynolds, an assistant coach who works with RJR’s high jumpers and quarter-milers, isn’t surprised by Wright’s performance.

When Reynolds watched Wright win a slam dunk contest a year ago, she was convinced then that the basketball player was tailor-made for the high jump.

“Tremond has natural talent,” said Reynolds. “When I started working with him, I just told him what he was doing wrong. He listened, took it all in, and did it right. And from that point, he continued to improve.”

At this point in his still embryonic track career, Wright competes on sheer athleticism. He didn’t come out for the track team until after basketball season, which means that he didn’t compete during the winter indoor season.

Given that he first started out by jumping 5-8 and then improved by 10 inches in a span of a few weeks is unheard of, because such rapid development is so rare. That’s because the high jump is an event in which technique makes all the difference. Right now, Wright uses a 20-foot approach to the bar, which is a very short distance, compared to his more polished counterparts.

“Right now, he doesn’t have the technique,” said Charlton Rolle, head coach for boys’ track at Reynolds.

“He doesn’t have a full approach yet – so once he gets some speed and some distance behind him – it’s just scary when you think about the possibilities for him.

“For starters, he’s just now learning how to flop and how to take off and hit all those correct positions. I’ve seen him jump 6-8 in practice. So, now he just has to do that in an actual meet. Jumping 6-8 or 6-10 is within his reach for this spring.”

While there’s no question about Wright’s physical gifts, his coaches are cognizant that he must handle the mental side of competing in order to contend for high jump titles at the regional and state levels. They believe his ability to handle the mental aspects of competition will ultimately help to determine his level of success.

“The high jump is very mental,” Reynolds explained. “Sometimes, Tremond can get out of the zone and overthink things. That’s when I have to remind him to just go for it. He knows he can do it.”

With about a month remaining in this outdoor season, Wright is confident about his chances to clear higher heights and win a state title.  At the same time, he fully understands that he cannot reach his goals based solely on raw jumping ability.

“I expect to win a (state) championship,” said Wright, who wants to attend college on a track scholarship and major in business or engineering. “I really want it and I’m going to bring one to my school. The biggest challenge for me is technique. As I do the work and get better with my technique, I feel like I can go a lot higher. It comes down to putting a lot of time and effort into it. That’s what you have to do.”

Even though Wright is brand new to the sport, Rolle believes that by season’s end, Wright will have an opportunity to further his education and compete in the high jump at the college level. Rolle’s rationale is based on what Wright has already accomplished.

“I haven’t seen anybody quite like Tremond,” said Rolle. “Jumping 6-6 will score points in a (NCAA Division I) college track meet. He’s proven the caliber of athlete he is, and I think he has a lot more left in his tank. Track is definitely where he belongs. We’re just trying to help him get comfortable with what he knows already. I tell him, don’t think man, just do what you did the first day of practice – just go out and jump.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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