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Treasure moves closer to Olympic rings

A season that started with so much uncertainty answered several questions for high jumper Alyx Treasure.
Alyx Treasure
High jumper Alyx Treasure, pictured here with coach Tom Masich, is coming off her most productive season in the sport. The 22-year-old Treasure is a good bet to represent Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A season that started with so much uncertainty answered several questions for high jumper Alyx Treasure.

With her injury woes seemingly behind her, the 22-year-old from Prince George has removed any doubts she's good enough to compete in next year's world championships and the 2016 Olympics.

Treasure capped a spectacular season with a win at the North America Central America Caribbean under-23 meet in Kamloops a couple weeks ago, where she jumped 1.85-metres in front of her family and friends. In June in Moncton, N.B., she set a new personal record at 1.89m (six-foot-two) while winning her first senior Canadian title, to go with her junior national and youth national titles.

As a Kansas State University athlete, she won five of nine outdoor meets in 2014, finished second in the Big 12 Conference meet and tied for second at the NCAA championships, which far surpassed her own expectations and put her on the radar for the the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"When I first came into the season it wasn't my focus to really come out and kill it, it was more to see where I was at after surgery," said Treasure. "I had a really rocky start with my first competition when I popped out my ankle and I didn't even know if I could jump still, so it was good to train through it and see that I was able to recover and have such a good season after surgery."

Treasure's freshman year at Kansas ended with her requiring ankle surgery to correct a problem that had bothered her since she was 15. The procedure shaved off some of the ankle bone to keep it from rubbing against the tendon. She red-shirted the 2012-13 season and after a tentative start in the indoor season the results started to come. She won two of her six NCAA indoor meets and finished second twice, but her progression became obvious once she starting jumping outdoors.

"The surgery wasn't completely a success - the tendon still pops out, so I have to do special tapings when I high jump, but it hasn't happened since that first meet," said Treasure. "It happens on my right leg too, I think my body is just prone to it.

"I had almost a year-and-a half completely off jumping and it took me awhile to get naturally into what I was doing and I struggled for sure. I'm proud I was able to get through it all because it wasn't an easy task. I'm happy that I took time off and happy I had the injury because it taught me to know my body and what I can do and what I can't do and when to push myself or when not to. That's something that's definitely needed at the higher level of track."

Her performance in the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore., was the pinnacle of the season for the daughter of Cindy and Steve Treasure.

"That was my breakthrough meet, where everything started to click and where I started gaining confidence in myself and where I can go," she said.

Choosing Kansas State over a host of other NCAA scholarship offers was key for Treasure, who started with the Prince George Track and Field Club under coach Tom Masich. The D.P. Todd secondary school graduate had a year of uncertainty after high school, which included an injury-plagued season at UBC. She turned down Florida State and Hawaii and decided the Wildcats program offered by coach Cliff Rovelto was the right fit. She's thrived under the competitive environment Rovelto has created, having all the K-State track and field athletes train together.

"Cliff has totally changed my whole view of high jump and how I train, and how I look at the technique. It's crazy to see how different he looks at the sport and how I've improved," said Treasure, a business entrepreneurship major.

"I was not the fittest when I came to him, I was more focused on my technique and what I was doing wrong than actually being a full rounded athlete. Lifting [weights] and running and examining the biomechanics of how I move has been a real big focus under [Rovelto] and not just getting over a bar. His main focus is getting me as fit as I can be and then worrying about the rest of the stuff later."

Next year Treasure has a choice between competing in the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto or attending the FISU University Games in Korea, which happen at the same time in July. She's also a strong candidate to represent Canada at the IAAF world championships in Beijing next August.

"I love the travel and if I can travel the world I'll pick there, but a lot of factors go into it," Treasure said. "Track at Pan Ams is huge, it's one of the biggest meets for Canada, but FISU for me personally is bigger. It's not only a track event, it's a games and I'd love to experience that.

"Still the goal is Rio in 2016. That's been the goal since the beginning, but after this year it's boosted my confidence that it's not just a dream anymore. It's kind of where my future is leading."

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