Some things just come naturally to folks. Just ask Weatherford College freshman guard Jeremiah Ganaway.
While Ganaway chose to play basketball in college, he is a North Carolina high school state champion in track – high jump, to be exact. And Ganaway had never participated in the sport until he was a junior in high school in Wilson, North Carolina.
The school’s track coach spotted him in the gym during a basketball workout. He asked Jeremiah to try out for the track team. In his first practice he cleared 6 feet, 2 inches, just trying the high jump out of curiosity.
“My coach realized right away I had a knack. Six feet was good enough to qualify for regionals, so he said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to let you do this,’” Ganaway said with a chuckle.
Soon, he was clearing 6-6. His junior year he had a best jump of 6-8 and placed third in the state. As a senior, his best jump was 6-10 and he brought home a gold medal from state.
Making his feat even more impressive is that he didn’t wear regulation track shoes when he competed or practiced.
“I cleared 6-8 in my Jordans,” he said. “In fact, they tried to correct my form, but it was just jumping to me.
“A friend of mine had great form. He was short and didn’t clear more than 5-10, but he had fantastic form and showed me a few things.”
Ganaway is returning to North Carolina over the holiday break. He will be presented with his state championship ring that arrived after he had left to play basketball at Weatherford College. There is also a billboard of him up by the school.
“I’m excited about that,” he said. “It’ll be nice. I’ve seen the billboard. It’s pretty cool.”
Ganaway was also pretty good at basketball in high school. He helped his team to the playoffs and earned all-area honors, along with scoring more than 1,000 points in two varsity seasons and holding the school record for career assists. It’s also the sport he chose to play in college despite having numerous track offers, he said.
“I started playing basketball at an early age, and I love it,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of sports, and football was my favorite when I was younger, but I never played in high school. It’s definitely basketball now, but I do, sometimes, miss high jumping.”
Ganaway hasn’t ruled out walking onto a track program at a higher level school. Weatherford College does not have a track program.
“Yeah, I’ve thought about it, but I’d also like to keep playing basketball and that might be hard to manage,” he said. “But it’s definitely something I think about. I’m sure I could still jump at a high level.”