K-State's Alyx Treasure competes in the women's high jump during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminaries at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 31, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
June 20, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
It's been a long, winding road for K-State track and field high jumper Alyx Treasure, and despite transfer, injury, surgery and just about every setback in between, the Prince George, Canada, native has found a way to persevere.
But what is incredible about Treasure is, not only has she persevered, she has excelled.
"That's just my career in track, it has been very bumpy, but in a good way," said Treasure. Her long, dark hair was pulled back in anticipation of her upcoming high jump practice. On her black track jacket, she proudly displayed the Canadian flag. "It's taught me a lot, and I feel that I've matured. I can push myself more and now I realize what it takes to do the things I want."
It's taken her three years longer than she hoped, but this past weekend Treasure had the opportunity to compete at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The redshirt sophomore soared to a second place finish at the national meet with a leap of 1.86m/6-01.25 - a personal record and tied for fourth-best in school history. Her career best finish came by way of a perfect 5-for-5 in the first five rounds before missing the championship winning height of 1.89m/6-02.25 on her final three attempts.
Treasure's outstanding performance in the high jump at the NCAA Championship meet came just weeks after tying for first in the NCAA West Regional Preliminary meet and placing second at the 2014 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. She had an exciting 2014 season - indoor and out - but all of her recent success is a long time coming, she said.
"I know my coaches always try and tell me to be happy with my progress, but I've always had very high expectations for myself," explained Treasure. "I'm starting to reach those goals, but they were goals I set years ago. It's hard, I've had a lot of setbacks, but obviously I'm glad I'm reaching my goals now rather than not at all."
To take a closer look at this stellar athlete's past, let's rewind a bit. At Prince George D.P. Todd Secondary School in Prince George, Canada, Treasure was a three-time British Columbia champion in the high jump and set the B.C. girls record (1.82m/5-11.50) as a sophomore in 2008. After high school, she decided to attend college at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Only at UBC for one year and wanting to push her skills to the next level, Treasure transferred to K-State in the fall of 2011 to compete with the Wildcats and train with head coach Cliff Rovelto.
"There was definitely a transition, but I knew what I was getting myself into," she said about leaving her home in Canada to come to K-State. "I think people get into problems when they think things are going to be similar to what they're used to, but I didn't think that, I wanted that change. I wanted something different. I wasn't succeeding where I was. I needed to push myself and come out of where I was comfortable."
So she came to K-State, but what awaited the high school star was two years filled with pain, surgery and recovery.
During the 2012 season, Treasure began to notice problems with the tendon in her left ankle. Though she went on to win the 2012 Big 12 Indoor title in the high jump as a freshman, the problem continued to get worse and, ultimately, kept her from excelling in her first outdoor season at K-State.
Her tendon would slip out of place when she jumped - a painful phenomenon that kept her off her feet for weeks at a time - so in the fall of 2012, she had surgery to correct the problem.
"I had to have them go in and get the bone grinded down so the tendon would sit properly," Treasure said as she pointed to her ankle. "The surgery didn't go as planned so my tendon still slips."
After a year long recovery forcing her to sit out the 2013 season, Treasure was back in action in 2014.
But sometimes, it still hurts.
"My first meet back, my tendon slipped on my last attempt. I couldn't walk for about three weeks," she continued. "My season started out really, really rough. I didn't even know if it was going to hold up at all. It happened during my first meet back, so that really scared me."
Despite the scare early during the indoor season, Treasure found success throughout the outdoor season. During the past few weeks of practice, Rovelto said he has seen great things from Treasure and is confident she will be a 1.90m-plus jumper.
"I think for her, it's been confirmed since day one that she's a world class jumper, she just hasn't done it yet," Rovelto said. "Throughout the outdoor season she's jumped pretty well, but the last couple weeks, going into NCAAs, she was jumping much better in practice. She has been more consistent in the running of her approach and is just physically looking good."
Looking back on her path as motivation, Treasure has overcome it all and now wants more. A second place finish at the NCAA Championships is no small accomplishment, yet with her competitive nature, she isn't satisfied. She is ready to work for more and looks forward to her third and final season at K-State.
"I'm so happy with my choice and that I came here," Treasure said with a smile. "K-State has meant everything to me because I wasn't the athlete when I got here that I am now. Coming here, it's just taught me so much. We're a family here, and I love that."
Track and field's Devin Field also excelled at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, for his story, check out yesterday's Sports Extra by clicking here.