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Rising Star in Women’s Track and Field


A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Vashti Cunningham, an 18 year old high school student who won the women’s high jump at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships. Well, here she is again, this time, winning the IAAF World Indoor Title in the high jump.

Vashti defeated a world class field in Portland, Oregon, jumping 1.96 meters (6 feet, 5 inches) to become the youngest female to ever capture a world indoor title. Vashti is the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, who also serves as her coach.

When asked about his daughter’s recent success, Randall said, “The maturity that she has been rapidly growing,” Randall said. “She’s at a place in her life right now where she knows she’s learning the different nuances of becoming a pro, the business aspect of it, the negotiating, all the fans. When the pressure comes, and there’s a lot on her … she’s able to deal with that.”

The decision was also made for Vashti to turn pro, which doesn’t surprise me at all. She signed a contract with Nike and is now the most recent high school student to forgo her college eligibility and turn professional.

She will have the opportunity make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team and compete for a gold medal in Rio. This is great news for U.S. Track and Field as Vashti could become the next American superstar.

Here is Vashti’s Decision to Turn Pro:

By: Dr. Brandon Spradley, Director of Sports Management, USSA. Dr. Spradley can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu 


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