SE: Treasure Clears Obstacles, New Heights en route to Olympic Dream

Alyx Treasure made specific plans when she decided to come to Kansas State to high jump. She would compete collegiately for four years, go to school for five and use the extra year to train for a professional career.


While the general framework of Treasure’s plan has panned out, the road to where she is now — the Canadian favorite in the high jump to advance to the Olympics — contained plenty of obstacles.


She battled foot, hip and back injuries in her time at K-State. It constantly disrupted her training, essentially tying cement blocks to an athlete who thrives on getting off the ground.


“Those were big roadblocks for her in her first couple of years,” K-State head track and field coach Cliff Rovelto said. “This year, it’s really all come together, mainly because she’s the healthiest she’s ever been.”


Even with the injuries, Treasure managed to win a Big 12 Indoor title as a freshman before highlighting her K-State career with a second-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships.


Inconsistent training because of the nagging injuries stymied her from reaching her potential, shown by her progression at K-State. Treasure’s best clearance as a freshman — 6-00.5/1.84 meters — equaled her top height as a senior, when she finished 12th at the NCAA Outdoors. 


Even her best collegiate clearance of 6-1.25 (1.86 meters), which earned her the runner-up finish at nationals in 2014, was well short of what she and Rovelto thought she could reach.


“(K-State) has been really supportive and it’s been a journey. I started out really confident coming in from Canada and then a lot of things happened to kind of bring me down,” she said. “I didn’t have the greatest collegiate career. Things just didn’t really come into place the way I wanted them to, but looking back, it was just all leading to this and I just had to stay the course and wait it out.”


Treasure’s up-and-down career hit a new peak this May. The Prince George native, jumping unattached, shattered her previous best at the Ward Haylett Invitational in Manhattan. Her clearance of 6-04 (1.93 meters) not only set a meet and facility record, but it also matched the Olympic standard.


The moment, which occurred at the track she had spent countless hours training on, was “surreal,” Treasure said.   


“Going into it, I felt prepared and I was ready to jump it, but to actually do it was amazing, and having all of my teammates there and being able to do it (in Manhattan) was just the greatest experience,” she added. “I’ll remember that forever.”


For Rovelto, who has coached six Olympic high jumpers – all males – in his career, seeing Treasure clear the Olympic standard was a special moment for him as well.


“We never could just get over that hump (in college), and so what’s neat is she persevered. She just kept plugging away and kept believing,” Rovelto said. “I knew that she was capable of doing what she is doing now, but it sure is neat when you see it happen.”


Treasure can now see her track plans falling into place. It might not be on the path she imagined years ago, but the trials she faced taught her crucial lessons along the way.


“Doing all of those things, making mistakes and having things not go your way, you figure out how you want to compete, how you want to keep into the sport, what works and what doesn’t, and it kind of makes you have heart,” she said. “Even when I fail now, it’s not what it used to be. I’m still doing what I love and that’s what matters.”


Treasure currently ranks as the No. 1 Canadian female high jumper, and she sits in a tie for the 15th-best clearance in the world. Even with the recent rise in stature, she said staying in Manhattan has helped keep her grounded.


“I go home and that’s the only time I really feel like I’m somebody because everybody is supportive, but everywhere else I’m just the same old me,” she said. “It’s been a stepping stone from last year, and it’s all new territory. It’s been good, though, being able to stay at K-State and having the same atmosphere, the same people to train with to keep me grounded. It hasn’t really hit home yet, which is good.”


With the Canadian Olympic Trials set this Thursday through Sunday, Treasure, a two-time Canadian national champion, needs only to finish in the top three to seal her bid to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics this August.


“Honestly, it’s always been on the radar since the first time I went to the World Championships when I was a youth. I kind of always had it in focus that’s what I wanted to do, but I was a long way off back then. Now it’s kind of become a reality,” Treasure said of going to the Olympics. “It means a lot. I’ve been working for this for so long and to finally have it within reaching distance, it’s exciting. I’m ready for it to happen.”

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