Vashti Cunningham claimed the women’s high jump title at the USATF Indoor Championships in Staten Island, New York on Saturday. Cunningham’s 1.96m clearance gave her the fourth title of her career.
Cunningham’s dad was in attendance, but not just as a parent. Football Hall of Famer Randall Cunningham is his daughter’s coach.
“We wanted to get in early and represent America,” Randall Cunningham said. “It’s always great coming to this meet, and we’re really happy with her.”
Cunningham’s title is even more of an accomplishment since the 21-year-old was coming back from strep throat.
She had a breakout season in 2016. Cunningham won her first U.S. title at indoors, signed with Nike and became the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympics since 1980 when she earned a spot in the Rio Olympics at age 18.
Cunningham didn’t hesitate to discuss what Randall, who played in the NFL for 16 seasons, is like as a coach.
“We don’t negotiate,” she said. “He’s in charge. Sometimes, we talk about it, but really, he’s in charge. And I try to fall in line with his plan because I trust him, and I trust that he’s been through enough to lead me in the right way.”