A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Highlands’ Kyan Chambers

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Monday, June 3, 2024 | 1:10 PM


Highlands senior high jumper Kyan Chambers wants to leave high school knowing he’s made an impact.

One way he’s left his mark is how he’s coached and given pointers to the other jumpers.

“That’s Coach Kyan right there,” Highlands track and field coach Mike Foster said. “It’s not just our team. Every athlete that’s in the high jump pit will get pointers from him.”

The teammate who’s received the most coaching from Chambers is sophomore Jahmar Wright.

“He and I help each other a lot,” Chambers said. “We have a brotherly bond, and we’re always there for each other. I would like to leave Highlands knowing he’s learned a few things from me.”

Chambers also has been doing work on himself, coming back from a broken foot suffered during the basketball season that saw him miss the entire track season.

“I had to have surgery, and I was out for three months after that,” Chambers said. “A lot of physical therapy in the summer. I came back and put some weight on, which helps because I’m a lot stronger and am moving better now.”

Another thing Chambers has been more focused on is the mental part of track and field. Foster said Chambers tends to overthink things before and during his jumps.

“If he’s not over-analyzing it, he’s fine,” Foster said. “But when he gets to the point of thinking, ‘I’ve got to worry about this aspect of the jump,’ then he starts to make mistakes.”

Said Chambers: “I recently started picking up meditation again, and journaling, because knowing my mind and my patterns with my mind are super important. When I’m jumping, I don’t want to be thinking about what I need to improve on. I want to look at everything on the surface level.”

Chambers’ work on himself and with Wright led to both qualifying for the PIAA championships. Having two jumpers qualify for an event was a first in Highlands history.

The other piece of history both were chasing this year was the school’s high jump record of 6-foot-6 that has stood since 1970.

They came close in their jumps at the WPIAL championships, each clearing 6-3. They came close again at the state meet but could not break the record. Wright finished 16th with a 6-2, and Chambers set a new personal best, clearing 6-4 and placing 10th.

“Even though I didn’t place, I was happy for the experience and opportunity to compete,” Chambers said. “I feel I ended off with a great season, and it’s a core memory.”

At the end of his season, Chambers took a few moments for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started in the high jump?

My sophomore year I tried track out. I used to be a sprinter, and I thought I was a little too tall for a sophomore and my coaches told me to give high jump a try. I did a little of those practices, and I had a stronghold there and I think the coaches saw a lot of potential in me.

What training is involved in being able to jump so high?

It’s a lot of stretching, plyometrics to get your body warmed up. We try to do a full lap around the track to get our blood flowing. It’s also a lot of repetition and technique in practice. We practice certain ways to jump, things to do in midair, things not to do.

Do you see yourself coaching track and field one day?

I’ve thought about coaching before, so there’s a very good possibility. There were times in my career where I needed help from a teammate to show me how to change my approach and technique. I like helping people with things as much as I can.

What’s one thing people may not know about you?

I think a lot about all the different possibilities of situations. I’m a very considerate person, very helpful. I try to be my most authentic self.

Favorite high school memory?

My sophomore year, I had a drum solo in jazz band. The solo was two or three minutes long based on the movie “Whiplash.”

Future plans?

I think I’m going to attend a trade school to be a mechanic. I want to continue in track, so I might want to be in a track league or an association because I love track a lot. If I do college or not, I’ll be playing music for sure. I want to travel and play drums.

Piece of advice you want to leave your teammates?

Hard work pays off and (time) goes by super fast. Think about where you want to see yourself in a few years and work towards that.

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