The Class of 2016: Vashti Cunningham

The Class of 2016 has the potential to go down as the greatest crop of track and field athletes from one graduating class ever. 

A handful of athletes from that year have already won NCAA titles, earned international medals and set new American and World records. We caught up with them as they prepared for their biggest test yet: The U.S. Olympic Trials. 

Up next in our series is 2016 Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (NV) graduate Vashti Cunningham, a real gold medal threat at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Cunningham was just 18 when she won her first World Indoor Championship title, turned pro and then reached the 2016 Rio Olympics ... barely out of high school.

In the years prior to those accomplishments, she set just about every record you could imagine in high school, including the indoor and outdoor national records at 6 feet, 6.25 inches. 

In ensuing years, she qualified for the 2017 World Championships in London, won a silver medal at the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham and then captured bronze at the 2019 World Outdoor Championships in Doha, Qatar. In May, Cunningham cleared her highest height ever, going 2.02 meters at the Chula Vista Field Festival in California. 

Some believe she could become the first 7-foot jumper of all-time, and many more believe she is a gold medal contender at the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

On Sunday, she qualified for her second Olympic Games for Team USA.