Kentridge’s Tyler Cronk is reaching greater heights this track and field season.
The 6-foot-8 senior, the state’s defending 4A champion, cleared a personal-best 7 feet, 3 inches to capture the title at the Pasco Invitational on Saturday. He has come close to clearing 7-4.
Cronk, who set the school record at 7-2 at the West Central District meet last May, has the nation’s best effort nationally among returning high school athletes. He shares the top spot with Sean Lee, of Trabuco Hills, Calif., and Jake Grumsman, of Folsom, Calif., according to Athletic.net.
Cronk captured the heralded Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational on April 7, with a leap of 6-9. The meet brought together the top three high jumpers in the nation.
“There’s a very good chance,” according to Kentridge coach Al Waltner, that Cronk could beat the state’s all-time best mark of 7-4½ set by Franklin’s Rick Noji in 1984.
Cronk, who also played basketball for the Chargers, first tried high jumping in middle school but took his freshman year off to focus on school.
“My sophomore year, I was like I am going do track because my grades were better,” he said. “I just went straight to high jump. I started jumping 6 feet. I was like ‘OK, I’ve grown since eighth grade.’”
Cronk’s height gives him an advantage, Waltner said.
“There’s other people who high jump, but they aren’t going to be 7-foot high jumpers,” Waltner said. “He has the build of a high jumper. … You don’t get an athlete with that kind of talent and all the right pieces. Those don’t come around that often.”