February 11, 2009

Jumper Huyler Eyes Return to Competition

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One of the top-25 jumpers in America can often be spotted getting his grub on at the Robert Purcell Community Center Dining Hall. How to spot him? According to men’s head track coach Nathan Taylor, “He’s a very quiet, unassuming guy … other than the fact that he’s 6-8. He kind of sticks out in the crowd.”
Senior jumper Garrett Huyler has won numerous laureates during his track career at Cornell. He holds the Cornell all-time outdoor and indoor high jump records at heights of 7-2.5 and 7-1, respectively. He is a Heps champion. He came within one centimeter of qualifying for the Beijing Olympic trials.
Huyler’s triumph in Red sports resulted from a fateful incident.[img_assist|nid=34957|title=Bend it like Huyler|desc=Senior jumper Garrett Huyler competes at last year’s Heps in his signature event, the high jump, at Barton Hall.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I used to play baseball in the spring and then I hurt my shoulder … and couldn’t throw anymore,” said Huyler. “I got cut from the baseball team, but to stay in shape for other sports, I decided to do track … worked out for the best, it got me to Cornell.”
Unfortunately, Huyler’s performance this season has been hindered by injury. Huyler is recovering from an ankle sprain in January and a hamstring pulled in November. Both are “still kind of bothering” him, but he believes he will be back to full shape by the Heps competition in late February, at which he hopes to surpass his own record.
According to Huyler, his injury has made it “tougher to be a vocal leader … but I have been going to meets and trying to support the guys and lead by example.”
Huyler attributes his development as a jumper to David Pell ’07, Pat McDonough ’06 and Wayne Gustafson ’66, who attend practices to train the jumpers. His largest influence, however, was the instruction of Taylor.
“He is the greatest high jumper in the history of the school,” said Taylor of Huyler.
Not only did the coach praise Huyler’s athletic talent, but also his contribution as a member of the track team.
“He has been a huge motivating force for the high jump group on the team, for both men and women. He’s just a very genuine, sincere, hardworking kid.”
His younger brother, Connor Huyler ’11, did not quite describe the accomplished jumper as a graceful giant. According to Connor, “He almost cut off one of his fingers cutting apart a chocolate bunny. Also, he fell off the back of a car and had gravel imbedded in his head once.”
Huyler hopes to attend the national meet at the end of this season and to be an All-American. However, his most desired goal is to “set a school record that nobody will really touch for a few years.” Whether he accomplishes this goal or not, he has certainly brought the Red high jump squad to new heights.