MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis high jumper Darius Lynwood first discovered he had springboards for legs as a freshman in high school.
"I got my first jump in a high school basketball game, and everyone was like wow, he's a really good jumper," Lynwood said.
Lynwood was a natural athlete who played multiple sports growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, but hardly gave track and field a thought until his mother urged him to join the team.
"I never thought I'd go to college for track. It was a pretty good investment my mom made for me to go try out for track, so I did it, and when I did it, I got pretty good at it so here I am," he said.
With just two years of high school track experience though, Lynwood was a work in progress.
"He wasn't a high jumper out of high school. He ran and jumped. He didn't know how to jump. We kind of took a chance on him cause we liked the kid, liked the drive and motivation he had," Memphis track and Field Head Coach Kevin Robinson said.
"Basically I would pick a spot anywhere on the field and jump from it, and I didn't have a form not really till I got here," Lynwood said. "I didn't have no clue, so when I got here I said I got to listen to the coach cause I got no experience."
Lynwood was so raw out of high school he didn't even have a mat to jump on. Now, he's setting the University of Memphis school record. At last weekend's NCAA prelims in Jacksonville, Florida, Lynwood cleared the bar at 2.19 meters, or 7 feet, 2.25 inches, eclipsing a program mark that stood for 34 years.
"I actually thought it was going to be harder, but it was actually pretty easy. I was nervous, cause it was my last chance, but it was pretty exciting," he said.
"For him to break the record this weekend at the biggest meet he's competed at I think says a lot for his character," Coach Robinson said.
Just a sophomore, Lynwood now moves on to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 6th through 9th in Des Moines, Iowa, where he hopes to continue reaching new heights.
"I hope to PR again, cause if I get 2'20", I get to go to the Olympic trials. But if I don't, I had a great season," Lynwood said.
With a new school record, a gold medal at the CUSA Indoor Championships, and bid to Nationals looming, great might just be an understatement.
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