Ever since Toriano Tate was in middle school, he wanted to be the best long jumper in DeKalb High history.
The DeKalb senior accomplished that goal this year, breaking the record by almost four inches and taking second at the Class 3A State Championships.
“It was one of my goals coming into high school when I was in middle school, when I started track,” said Tate, the Daily Chronicle 2022 Boys Track Athlete of the Year. “So that means a lot to me.”
At the DuPage Valley Conference meet, Tate went 23-7.75 in the high jump, breaking the record of 23-4. He went shorter at state but still ended up taking second.
It was the only high jump event he didn’t win this year.
“It went very good, actually,” Tate said. “I had an undefeated season until state obviously, which felt pretty good. I wanted that win at state so bad, but it was fine not being undefeated. It felt good while it lasted.”
Tate battled through various injuries this spring, and heading into the DVC meet he hadn’t gotten a chance to jump much in practice.
That made his leap more surprising, he said.
“I knew that the long jump, a lot of it is just approach,” Tate said. “I knew that I needed to get faster, control my speed a lot more, and then everything else would fall into place.”
DeKalb boys track coach Jeff Saurbaugh said Tate didn’t jump much outside of meets this year. Training sessions focused more on speed and power rather than the actual jump.
Since Tate had his eyes focused on the record for so long, Saurbaugh said he felt that was the best strategy to prep for the season.
“He’s been talking about it since last offseason,” Saurbaugh said. “He put in the work in the weight room. And some coaches might think we’re crazy, but he practiced his jumps since January, I’d say maybe single-digit times. We really worked on his speed and his power getting off the board.”
Saurbaugh said the results of his season speak for themselves.
“There we some tough workouts, but he really bought in and I think he started seeing that improvement,” Saurbaugh said. “Indoors, he went over 23 feet for the first time so he saw it working and the dividend paid off in the end.”
Tate also ran on the state-qualifying 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams. Both ran their fastest times in a while this season, and both were at their fastest with Tate.
The 4x1 had a fastest time of 42.4, the best in six years at the school, and the 4x2 posted a 1:29.12 as its top time, its fastest in seven years.
Tate also competed in the shot put and high jump in the outdoor season, and set the school indoor record in both. He went 48-0.5 in the shot and 6-0.75 in the high jump. His 23-0.75 is a school indoor record for the long jump.
“He was good,” Saurbaugh said. “We ran our fastest 4x1 in six years and our fastest 4x2 in seven years, and he was a big part of that. Without him on there we still ran great times, just not as great times.”