CAPTION: Kason O’Riley proudly stands on the medal podium of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Games July 23 after earning a silver medal in the high jump. Courtesy photo
Marble Falls High School graduate Kason O’Riley won the silver medal in the high jump of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Games July 23.
O’Riley, who made his international debut at the games, competed for Team USA’s 23 and younger squad in San Jose, Costa Rica.
He cleared 7 feet and 1.75 inches on his first attempt.
“It was a lot of stuff,” he said about the festivities after the games concluded. “We went to the pool and had a party, just hanging out. It feels great. You always want the gold. But this was my first time wearing a Team USA uniform.”
O’Riley, who is a 2021 Marble Falls High School graduate, was consistently great throughout the meet, needing only one attempt at each height to clear the bar until he reached 7-3.
“I think I had something to prove to myself this meet,” he said. “I came back from injury, it was a long season. I had to get my mojo back and needed to get over those high bars. I’ve cleared either 7-1.5 or 7-1.75 six times this season. I think it’ll drive me to next season.”
O’Riley qualified for the team by finishing seventh at the USA Track and Field Championships July 9. He took one day off then went to the weight room, the high jump pit and other parts of the training facility daily to prepare for the meet.
“We tried to prepare more to get me ready for this meet,” he said. “I worked really hard to try to win it. I came up a little short.”
The 2021 Class 5A state high jumping champion said this meet gave him a shot of confidence as he turns his attention to returning to the University of Arkansas to compete for the Razorbacks. The 2023 spring semester was challenging as he suffered a leg injury after helping Arkansas win the Division I Indoor National Championship. That injury limited his availability for the outdoor season. Still, O’Riley wouldn’t be denied. He continued to work throughout the months of May and June and took advantage of his opportunity to compete at the USA Track and Field Championships after accepting an invitation based on being ranked in the top 16 nationally.
As he leaves Costa Rica to return home, O’Riley said he believes the best is still coming.
“I can come in a lot higher than I normally do,” he said. “I have to get over that mental block of 7-3, 7-4. It’ll be good because as soon as I can clear one bar, I can clear it again and again. I’m going to take a couple of weeks off and relax to get healthy and finish up (summer) school.”
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