Titans take a leap to Rio

Kaylee Domzalski/Emerald Media Group

Three former Lane students competed in the 2016 Olympic trials in July, with one of the three going on to compete in Rio, however he did not place in the finals.

Lane sophomore Dakarai Hightower, along with former Lane students Cyrus Hostetler and Jordan McNamara, joined the many track and field athletes who flocked to Eugene’s Hayward Field to compete in the Olympic Trials. Though all three athletes made it to the finals at the trials, Hostetler was the only one that went on to compete in Rio.

Hightower, a high jumper and the youngest of the three at 21 years old, was still going to Lane during the trials and competed wearing Titan colors.

“Everyone was pretty cool and pretty helpful throughout the competition,” Hightower said, “It was almost like a small family.”

During his last meet with Lane before the trials, Hightower set a new personal best, clearing the bar at 7’ 5”. This jump put him in a tie for the second best jump in the nation by any college athlete, giving him a great position going into the trials. Hightower ended his Olympic run in sixth place of the final event, just three centimeters shy of making it to the games in Rio.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with a solid talent,” Hightower said.“I’ve also been fortunate enough for these last two years to be trained by Grady [O’Connor].”

Grady O’Connor has been head track and field coach at Lane for almost 19 years and has coached Hostetler and McNamara as well as Hightower. O’Connor says that having Lane students competing in the trials is great for the program as well as the rest of the track and field team.

“It’s pretty rare that you have an athlete in the Olympic trials competing for any college, let alone a community college,” O’connor said.

Former Titan Cyrus Hostetler competed in the Olympic Trials wearing a Lane jersey back in 2008.