Jalyn Hernandez, a Lake Ridge senior, decided to take up a new sport during the track and field season.
After deciding initially the long jump looked like a good fit, Hernandez added another event and parlayed his talent into a third-place finish in the triple jump at last weekend’s Class 4A UIL State Track and Field meet in Austin.
He set a personal and school record in the process, jumping 47’ 4 ¼”.
Hernandez went to the first meet of the season for Lake Ridge and immediately jumped almost 42 feet. He steadily progressed as his technique improved.
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Eventually, he was ready for the regional track and field meet and won the triple jump event with a then-personal best of 46’ 3”.
His start in the triple jump was an incident of fate, as another Eagles jumper came up injured and head coach Mike Prewitt pushed Hernandez into the event. It was then he broke the school record for the first time.
“He works extremely hard,” Prewitt said. “He’s also incredibly coachable. If you tell him to fix something, it stays fixed. He listens to a coach.”
The fact he’s got the talent to translate to success wasn’t a surprise.
Hernandez was an All-District wide receiver in football and was on the baseball team. But the spring sport wasn’t going to afford him significant playing time, so Hernandez wanted to venture out and find something new to challenge him.
He has signed to play football at East Texas Baptist University, in Marshall.
“I’d never done track before,” Hernandez said. “I think because of the way I’m built, I can run and get in the shape needed to do well at it,” said the 6-3 senior.
The triple jump, of all events, may take some of the most well-honed technique to do well, and Hernandez didn’t seem to mind the needed focus and work.
“It was hard at first,” he said. “But it becomes basic once you get your body used to it. You improve at the technique each time you practice.”
For Hernandez to explain it, all you do is, “Run. It takes 14 steps for me to hit my mark, skip, skip and hop. You hit with the left foot and left foot and right. It’s like skipping a rock.”
He further explained momentum created going forward has much to do with the distance gained, but form has a lot to do with it, also. “Now it just seems naturally intuitive,” Hernandez said.
It continued to become more and more natural to Hernandez going into the qualification meets.
After winning the regional meet, Hernandez went into the state meet as the fifth seed. All the qualifiers ahead of him all came from the same regional.
But the third-place finish was just another step forward for Hernandez.
“I’m very glad I made that choice,” he said of taking to the field events for his senior year.