Recruit gives Bison hope of breaking longtime 7-foot high jump drought
FARGO — All eyes of North Dakota State track and field fans were on the running and throwing events at the Summit League Outdoor Championships in May. Next year, Clayton Pritchard is hoping you’ll hear from the jumping events.
The signing of Kyle Alcine gives hope that a Bison high jumper will create some stadium buzz and remain in the competition until the end. He has a personal best that has already eclipsed the coveted 7-foot barrier.
“I think it’s one of those heights that once you get it, it opens up a whole new world in the high jump for you,” said Pritchard, the Bison assistant who handles the jumpers.
Alcine cleared 7 feet, 1¾ inches twice this year, which as of last month tied him for 15th-best in the world in the under-20 age division. The native of Nassau, Bahamas, will enroll at NDSU after spending one semester at Edward Waters College (Fla.) and will have four seasons of eligibility.
He has aspirations that would blow away anything seen around here. His goal is to reach 7-10 at some point in the next four years at NDSU.
“Because the record in my country is 7-8½,” Alcine said. “I think with the coaching at NDSU, I can go even higher.”
It’s been awhile since NDSU has made a splash in the high jump.
The school outdoor record of 7-0¼ was set by Charles Pokladnik and Brian Antoine in 1993 and 2001 respectively — when the school was still competing in NCAA Division II. Only one of the top 10 jumps on the school’s all-time performance list came in the Division I era when Jeramy Geditz topped 6-11 in 2011.
“It’s been quite a while, that’s one of the things I emphasize with the jumpers — getting into the top 10 lists,” Pritchard said. “Let’s start working our way up. Top eight. Top five. Let’s set some school records. Different parts of our program compete at a high national level while other places need to catch up, and jumping is an area we definitely need to catch up.”
This week, the Bison throws program was declared the top squad in the country in both men’s and women’s divisions by “The Thrower’s Page,” an online resource for track and field throwing content. It was the second straight year NDSU got that honor.
The women finished ahead of Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas A&M. The men topped Ashland (Ohio), Alabama and Virginia.
“North Dakota State has the ability to be a national-caliber program and that’s my thought process,” Pritchard said.
The table in getting Alcine was set by the Bison women signing high jumper Deajha Moss — also from Nassau — who is a three-time junior champion in her country. That will help curb the distance between home and Fargo, Alcine said.
And he’s certain to get that weather question a lot.
“Our climate is very, very hot so the cold will be like a new experience for me and I’m looking forward to it,” Alcine said.
He’s also looking forward to the NDSU music program, which was a major reason why he picked the school, he said.
“Music is my passion,” he said. “After high jumping, music is No. 1 in my life.”
The Bison had to face the music in the recruiting of Alcine, who verbally committed before winning a silver medal in April at the CARIFTA Games, a junior competition among Caribbean nations. Word got out to other schools that he set the Bahamian national record for the under-18 division.
“We had to go back and continually recruit him and let him know how great North Dakota State is,” Pritchard said. “How we’re able to help him, make him a better high jumper and the kind of education we have going to set him up for his future. For Kyle, he wants to be a music teacher and coach.”