Kamyren Garrett is a senior at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a Class of 2021 signee of Kansas State University. So far this spring, Garrett has cleared 7-feet in the high jump a total of 10 times, including his second-straight over 7-1 this weekend at the IHSAA Sectional 19 at Lawrence Central. His career best mark of 7-3, from April 17 at the Lawrence Central Invitational, is just one inch shy of tying the Indiana state record of 7-4. Garrett won an indoor national championship in February at adidas Indoor Nationals and cleared an Indiana record of 7-2.5. He wrote this Dear Jumping letter for MileSplit.
"We created this "Must Be" mindset as if I had no other choice but to be great at what I do."
I first met you in the seventh grade, back when I was doing just for the fun of it, not really caring how I looked. I just wanted to make sure I had a smile on my face while doing it.
But I was officially introduced to you by my high school coach, Tim Richey, just a couple years later.
Jumping, you and me slowly become one after many days of hard work; like so many hours put in. This has become a science for me, watching film, breaking down every leap, piece by piece, just to make sure everything is done right -- almost to the point where there is no second guessing.
I tried a couple of sprinting events and relays in those years, trying to fit in ... but they just didn't give me that same feeling of being different like you did. Jumping, you became my first love.
For me jumping and competing in track and field was the love I needed.
Shortly after, I was introduced to my amazing Bear family. And because of you guys, I am the person you see today; I made friends with lots of kids from different walks of life.
In my freshman year of high school, our vision and goals went to a new level, and we grew inseparable. You showed me that I had to work a lot harder because I'm with older kids now and there is no time for slowing down.
My freshman year at Lawrence Central, I finished the indoor and outdoor season clearing 6 feet, 4 inches.
And yet, as we know, there was still work to be put in to get better; the next year we began competing in AAU as I tried to learn how to develop my skills and talents. We created this "Must Be" mindset as if I had no other choice but to be great at what I do.
And to be honest, there were times that we didn't mesh; there were times I didn't like it.
So as a result, there was some challenges. That year, I placed second at the indoor championships and fourth at outdoors when I was projected win it all.
I asked myself "Why?" But after my sophomore year, our relationships grew even more because you showed me something I didn't think I would have a chance to see: A college offer.
We even started traveling to compete in different places to compete.
Then comes junior year. We started off hot in the AAU season, even beating some NCAA future-D2 and D3 jumpers along the way; I qualified for New Balance Nationals Indoor and was so excited because I would be jumping against some of the top talent in the country.
But then out of nowhere Covid-19 had other plans and canceled the rest of junior year -- all that work down the drain. For it to be taken from us was devastating.
But over that time of waiting, the recruiting process was something I could never forget. You brought me in front of colleges from all over the country because of how good I was that season. Almost every week I was getting letters and offers from a different college.
Ultimately, though, I learned that everything in life will come with some hardship; that only made me want to work harder.
My senior year, after six years of friendship, our partnership has only gotten stronger.
In February, I won the adidas Indoor Nationals high jump championship and cleared the No. 1 height in the nation and No. 1 in the world for athletes under 18 like me.
You introduced me to a new friend, and to my next stop in life: Kansas State University
To my best friend and coaches, I want to tell you something: Thank you.
I appreciate you, and I value our relationship and bond.
Indianapolis Lawrence Central High School, '21
MileSplit - Graphic/Indy Star
CONTRIBUTE TO THIS SERIES
If you are a track and field athlete or coach interested in contributing to this series at the state or national level, please send your essay to MileSplit USA editor Cory Mull at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to your local MileSplit editor in your respective state.
Read the full series here.