Advertisement

HS TRACK AND FIELD: Holy Cross jumpers Vincent, Lyons ready for District 2 Championships

Intense competition within a team can result in increased motivation and success at the highest levels while building a lasting friendship.

Kevin Vincent and Matt Lyons, Holy Cross’ record-setting jumping duo, compete in the high jump and posted a 1-2 finish at the Robert Spagna Championships. They will battle again in search of medals and a shot at the state meet when they return to Scranton Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday and Tuesday for the District 2 Track and Field Championships.

Each is a contender for gold in his specialty event. Vincent is seeded first for the triple jump and second behind Lyons for the high jump in Class 2A.

“It feels like track season has flown by because we have so few meets, but I am looking forward to the district meet,” Vincent said. It’s a different atmosphere competing at the big meets with all of the top athletes.”

The high jump, where Lyons and Vincent go head-to-head and represent the Crusaders, happens Monday during the 5 p.m. field session. The triple jump is Tuesday during the 3 p.m. field session.

“It’s been great,” said Lyons, who had an all-star season with the Holy Cross basketball team that reached the PIAA Class 2A final in Hershey this past winter.

“Nobody really looks at Holy Cross as a track school, and it is more seen as a basketball school. But it is nice that we had a couple of winners and second-place and third-place finishes at the Spagna meet. It’s fun.”

D2_Track_Schedule_Day_1

D2_Track_Schedule_Day_1

D2_Track_Schedule_Day_2

D2_Track_Schedule_Day_2

  

After seeing limited playing time on the junior high baseball team as a seventh grader at North Pocono, Vincent chose to go out for track and field. In his eighth-grade season, he finished first in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 2 inches at the Phil Tochelli Junior High Championships his final year with the Trojans. He also had a season-best jump of 17-0.5 in the long jump and 34-3 in the triple jump.

He improved by leaps and bounds.

In 2023, as a freshman at Holy Cross, Vincent soared past 39 feet at the Walter Godek Twilight Invitational and the Robert Spagna Championships. At the District 2 Championships, he broke the barrier, marking 40-0.75.

Motivated by his progress, Vincent made a long-term commitment to the sport.

He started to work on skills, drills and speed at training sessions in New Jersey at the High Intensity Track facility. By the end of the indoor track and field season, Vincent, 15, made huge strides.

During the winter, he had a season-best clearance of 5-10 in the high jump, a long jump mark of 18-2 and a triple jump distance of 41-10.75 at the adidas Track National meet.

“I wasn’t really sure where track was going to take me, but I wanted to go all in with this thing,” Vincent said. “I went to an indoor training facility, and my parents drove me there, and ultimately, that has helped me a lot.”

This spring, Vincent emerged as the top performer in the Lackawanna Track Conference in the triple jump. He set a school record with a distance of 43-2 in the regular season and won the conference championship with a mark of 42-8.25.

“Track has been a life changer for me,” Vincent said. “I feel like I can thrive because it is all on me. If I win or lose, I control my destiny. I am really happy with how it’s going.”

While Vincent is committed to track through the winter and spring, Lyons found a balance with his AAU basketball schedule and building confidence in track.

Lyons joined the team as a sophomore and had a season-best height of 5-11 to earn a bronze medal in the high jump at the district meet.

This spring, the 6-6 junior who energized jam-packed gyms with his thunder dunks in basketball converted his leaping ability to the high jump, where he set a school record with a clearance of 6-2 in the regular season. He elevated that mark with his gold medal-winning jump of 6-4, which inched higher than Vincent, who marked at 6-2.

“The dunking, I think, just translates over to track,” Lyons, 17, said. “After I started dunking, coach (Alex) Higley said I should try the high jump. I just needed to do the same things, but do a backflip over the bar. That wasn’t easy to learn because we don’t have a track to practice on that often, and I am also playing AAU.

“I think it is amazing what we have been able to do without having a place to practice.”

  

Being teammates and competing in the same event brings out the best in both of them.

“We are competitive,” Lyons said. “Every meet we have finished 1-2, and I think having that level of competition within our team is great. We support each other, but we both want to win, and then it is bragging rights from there.”

And they are ready for one more battle.

“I am practicing and working on my run up to the board,” Vincent said. “I am working on building up my speed and then the adrenaline will be there.

“It’s going to be fun.”