The fluidity of the jump brings out a different sensation in Flying Tiger R’Lazon Brumfield.
There is a thrill of running as well for the lean, 6-foot-3 sophomore, but jumping?
It’s calming, but fast.
“I always wondered what it would be like to be like the Flash,” said Brumfield during warm-ups at the Vanderbilt Invitational. “I love running, but when I’m jumping, I feel free. I feel like l can actually fly. It feels great to jump. I have no problem running, but jumping is my favorite thing.”
The love for jumping has catapulted Brumfield into one of the top athletes in the nation at Tennessee State. He was previously ranked in the top-10 in the triple jump and the top-20 in the long jump. Brumfield currently slides in at No. 13 and No. 23, respectively.
Brumfield has won five Ohio Valley Conference Field Athlete of the Week awards and is coming off a third-place finish in the triple jump (15.13m) and a sixth-place finish in the long jump (7.46m) at the Vanderbilt Invitational on Jan. 18 and 19.
The Flying Tiger has stood among the best in first place in the triple jump three times this season, including a personal record 15.59m at the Vulcan Invite in Birmingham, Ala. on Jan. 12. He has been equally impressive in the long jump to place second back-to-back in the Vanderbilt Opener and Ed Temple Classic, then third at the Vulcan Invite.
The success is nothing new for Brumfield, who was the OVC Freshman of the Year last season. But TSU Director of Track & Field, Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, believes her talented sophomore has much more to offer.
“His first year, he did great things and was the freshman of the year,” Cheeseborough-Guice said. “He did big things and I think he can be an all-around athlete. To get what he’s getting, that’s great, but if he also focuses on his running as much as he does his jumping, he’ll be a phenomenal athlete.”
The high praise from the former Olympian gold medal-winning director who led Tennessee State to nine Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Championships provided inspiration for the young Brumfield.
“My goal is to get athlete of the year and athlete of the week every week,” Brumfield said. “Anyone can fall off when it comes to stats and numbers. You just have to handle your business every week and stay humble and do you.”
Events and assistant coach David Rachel has seen a maturation process in Brumfield from year one to year two. When it comes to the triple jump and the long jump, Rachel said there almost isn’t much more you can ask for from Brumfield after the fruitful start to his career.
“He’s gotten more focused and doesn’t play that much,” Rachel said. “He has a maturing factor that has made him better this year. He’s already running a 21.3 in the 200 meter and I think he can be a great quarter mile runner. He does run, but he has to take it a little more serious. His attack and aggressiveness in practice will benefit that tremendously, but that’s a growing thing.”
As a team, Brumfield simply wants to see the unit perform well as the team receives a mini-break before heading to the Middle Tennessee State University Invitational on Feb. 2.
As for himself, Brumfield said he wants continued growth and progress.
Cheeseborough-Guice pointed to her chest and said “more heart” when asked about the progress of Brumfield. She raved about his talent, but challenged Brumfield to take his talents to the next level.
“If he puts the whole package together, he can be the athlete of the year,” Cheeseborough-Guice said. “Heart can take you a long way. Heart can take you further than talent.”