Soroco grad wins conference high jump title, freshman of the year honors
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Grant Redmond is a natural. During his sophomore year at Soroco High School, he tried the high jump for the first time. The 6-foot-8, multi-sport athlete went on to win three straight state titles at the Colorado High School State Track and Field Championships, capping his senior year with a 6-foot-7 leap at the 2019 state championships.
It wouldn’t have been surprising if in his first year at the Colorado School of Mines, Redmond was mediocre compared to some of the older, more experienced Division II athletes. Then again, for those who know Redmond, it wasn’t that surprising to see him succeed.
As a true freshman, Redmond won the high jump title at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet, was named to the All-RMAC First Team and earned RMAC Freshman of the Year. While he qualified for the national meet with his conference winning jump of 6-foot-11, the event was canceled shortly after Redmond and his fellow qualifiers arrived in Alabama.
“The way I looked at it was, I wasn’t supposed to be here anyway, it was out of the blue,” Redmond said. “Might as well enjoy the experience for what it is and make the best out of it. It was great to get on the plane, fly down there, see the facilities. We had a bunch of extra funding, so our coach took us to a steak dinner. I got a $100 steak out of the whole deal.”
In his first meet, Redmond finished ninth with a height of 6 feet, 4 1/4 inches. His performances stayed stagnant through January and early February. Redmond said he wasn’t particularly frustrated, though, as he and his coaches were working on small changes, and when making changes, performances don’t improve right away.
On Feb. 21, the final home event before the conference meet, all the hard work came together, helping Redmond win the event with a jump of 6 feet, 7 1/2 inches.
“It was really small, there were like three teams there. I was just going out there and seeing what I could do,” Redmond said. “A little tune up before conference is what coach called it. So, I went out there, and I got a (personal-record) by a half inch.”
At the RMAC championships, Redmond’s talent reached new heights, literally. With a jump of 2.11 meters, Redmond cleared a new personal-best of 6 feet, 11 inches, winning the conference title.
Redmond actually won the meet with a height of 6 feet, 7 1/2 inches. However, with nationals two weeks away, he and his coach decided to keep jumping and try for the nationals-qualifying height. With the bar at 6-foot-11, about few inches above Redmond’s head, he went for it.
“On the first attempt, I felt my hips get over the bar, which is a really good sign. Once you feel your hips go over the bar, you know you can clear it,” Redmond said. “I got excited, and I came out of my arch way early and I knocked the bar off.”
On the second attempt, Redmond cleared the bar, booking him a trip to the national championships in Alabama.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to jump at the national championships this year. If we had, I think he would have surprised a lot of people and had a chance to do something really special,” said Colorado School of Mines Head Track and Field Coach Matt Sparks. “That trajectory you’re on, for Grant specifically, is something that’s repeatable. It’s not a fluke thing. He’s able to keep improving and adding on to stuff. … I think what you saw his true freshman year is just the beginning.”
Aiming even higher
Redmond hopes his trajectory eventually leads him to space. Maybe not actual outer space, but at least, NASA. Through a potential electrical engineering degree, Redmond hopes to aid a space mission or work on a Mars rover.
“Electrical engineering is a pretty good gateway into the space industry like magnetism, telecommunications, all sorts of cool things that can be used to get hired by NASA. that would be, I think, the end goal right now,” Redmond said.
Sparks said Redmond’s engineering mind is evident at track practice.
“He’s got to be analytical, he’s got to understand why,” Sparks said. “He’s gotten into this habit. Immediately after a jump, he wants to know the four things he did wrong and what he did right and what he can improve before he even got off the mat.”
While he’s ultimately aiming for Mars, Redmond’s next target is much closer to sea level. Now that he knows he’s capable, he’s aiming for nationals next year.
“After I cleared that 6-11, it was great and exciting and all. That night, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Now you’re going to figure out how to do that again,’” he said. “It was a little bit scary, but I like to think I can do it again. Going into next season, I’m looking forward to making even more adjustments and seeing how high I can go.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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