Leaping off the charts: West Forsyth’s Adams wins another state long-jump championship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier

Ho, hum. Senior Tyson Adams of West Forsyth won another long jump championship last Saturday at the NCHSAA Class 4-A state outdoor track-and-field championships at N.C. A&T in Greensboro. 

Yes, Adams, who didn’t even start competing in track-and-field until November 2021 during the indoor season, won his fourth straight long jump state championship — two outdoor and two indoor — all since February 2022. 

Once again, he dominated last Saturday’s competition. He won with a jump of 23-10.25, nearly two feet better than runner-up Andrew Davis of Charlotte Ardrey Kell, who jumped 22-2.50. 

“For this one, I didn’t feel super-good going into the meet,” Adams said. “I’d been sick like a few days before, and going in, I was feeling, and then I started to like jump and run and everything, and warm up and everything, and my legs kind of felt like sluggish … but I still came out with the win, so it was nice.”

Making what Adams, who has signed to compete at N.C. State, did even more remarkable: he competed simultaneously in the 100-meter dash and still had five clean jumps, his best being the second one. He fouled on his third attempt, his only foul in six jumps.

“I think it’s one of these deals where when his foot was flat, he was behind the edge,” Coach Nathan Newsome of West Forsyth said. “But as you roll forward and roll up on your toe, it could have the appearance that the front of your foot went over. It was all a moot point. I think he was nearly two feet better.”

His five clean jumps last Saturday contrasted with how he competed the Saturday before last at the NCHSAA Class 4-A Midwest Regional at Davie County, where he fouled on five of his six jumps. Still, he won the regional. Much of his issue was his starting spot on the run, which threw off his runs.

“When you pick a spot to start, you know, when you run through, oddly enough, your runs tend to be very close to each other,” Newsome said. “So, he might run 120 feet, and he was to do that three or four times in a row. His foot may be within an inch every time where the foot strike is.”

Because of the frustration, it became a game of cat and mouse.

“I just had to keep moving my mark back,” Adams said. “So, I guess I was getting faster throughout the meet, like while I was warming up. But I still didn’t feel as good as I normally feel when I’m jumping. So, I think I could’ve done better.”

To think he could’ve done better is incredible since he won by such a wide margin.

“My jumps were on the board, but I just had to keep moving my mark back,” Adams said. “Like, I had to keep moving my mark back that I was jumping from back. It’s like when you take a run-up.”

Since Adams also runs the 100, that introduces another element to the equation.

“Part of sprinters is they get faster as they warm up, you know, kind of like a pitcher,” Newsome said. “When they toss it easy back and forth, and gradually be able to throw it 100 (mph) or whatever, so Tyson would run through and get his mark and be good, and then he would run through again and be over because he was getting warm. 

Newsome just told Adams one piece of advice.

“Behind the board is OK,” Newsome said. “And scratching is not good. To give you an idea, he had five of six jumps Saturday that were good. At regionals, five of his six jumps were fouls. So, luckily not to downplay his performance, he was just so much better than everybody else this year, especially that he had that luxury.”

Adams also had to deal with much of the spring outdoor season with a heel bruise. 

“It wasn’t really anything too major wrong with it,” he said. “It just was very, very aggravating to jump off of. So, that’s why in the beginning of outdoor, I didn’t jump very much because it was like really aggravating to jump off of.”

It was so painful that Adams said he didn’t really start jumping until Senior Day at West Forsyth. In addition, he became sick when he went on a class trip. 

“Coming into Saturday’s meet, my foot felt completely fine,” Adams said. “But I did have … a zoo trip for our zoology class. And after the zoo trip, I kind of started to feel a little bit sick. So, that was (last) Tuesday. I felt a little bit sick after that. 

“And going into the meet, I felt fine, but my body just felt a little bit sluggish.”

Even with all these issues and ailments, Adams had a dominating performance.

“I’m just trying to PR (personal record),” Adams said. “But it didn’t work very well last meet. But for me, I just try to PR, and if somebody pulls ahead of me, then I try to, you know, I don’t know, something just comes over me when somebody gets ahead of me. And I end up either doing better or I either stay the same. It just depends. I don’t really know what goes on.”

Despite Adams’ immense talent in the long jump, he played baseball at West Forsyth until he took up track and field in the fall of his junior year. 

“As long as I put a lot of work into it, I feel like I can do pretty much anything,” he said. “Except, if it were something in maybe a longer distance, I would have to put a lot more work into it because I don’t have the endurance for longer races. But if I was to gain some endurance, maybe I could do something like 400 (meters) or something.”

Graduation is coming up in two weeks, and Newsome knows what a gem he’s had in Adams. 

“I think State got a bargain in somebody who still has a whole lot of — green’s the perfect word,” Newsome said. “And the other part of Tyson that he obviously can’t tell you is, he is such a great kid. When you talk to him, he listens to everything you say and tries to do everything that you say. Not to talk bad about other kids, but was an absolute joy to coach.”

Even though Adams will be competing at N.C. State, starting in August, he won’t forget his time as a Titan.

“Getting to hang out with the team,” Adams said of what he’ll miss. “And sometimes before bigger meets, we would have like dinner and stuff like that. That was a very memorable experience. All of the experiences that we had were very memorable.”

Up next for Adams, as far as track-and-field, is competing in either the Nike Nationals in Oregon or the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia. 

“Going to the meets with the team is more fun than — when I’m going alone to the meets, it’s not as fun,” he said. “But when I go with the team, it’s a lot more fun to go with the team than go alone.”

Adams wasn’t the only West Forsyth track-and-field athlete who placed last Saturday at the NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship. Haley Hanes finished third in the girls pole vault.

Her vault of 11 feet, 6 inches tied her with Hannah Riley of Mount Tabor, but Riley finished runner-up. Lena Richardson of Cary Panther Creek won with a vault of 12-10. 

“Man, Haley Hanes did fantastic,” Newsome said. “She didn’t necessarily love competing. She loved the vault, and I think she loved the process. You know, I think she loved everything about it, but I think the meets maybe really got her nervous, got her super uptight.”

Hanes will attend the University of North Carolina in the fall, but her days as a track-and-field athlete appear to be over.

“I think sometimes she may have felt if she didn’t do as good as she wanted, she might disappoint others or herself,” Newsome said. “So, for her to finish third, I think, is fantastic.”