It was shaping up to be a big 2020 track and field season for Tatum Hull.
The Chester-Joplin-Inverness sophomore had gold medal aspirations after competing in five events and placing in three at the 2019 Class C state track and field meet as a freshman. But 2020 was going to be about more than high marks and fast times.
“My step-brother Rylan (Broadhurst), he went over to go into the Marines, and he’s been doing really good over there," Hull said. "He has the Crucible coming up, and I have been sending him a lot of letters. He said they have to wear masks 24/7, but he’s doing really good and he sounded really good. I’m really excited to see him. We just can’t go over to his graduation and see him, which is really a bummer, because I miss him a lot. But he’s doing good, which is nice.”
Rylan Broadhurst, a 2016 CJI graduate, is set to graduate in May. This track season, he was supposed to make a trip back home to watch his younger sister compete for the first time.
Hull broke onto the high school track and field scene as a freshman, quickly putting up some of the best marks in Class C. She admitted the state meet didn’t go as well as planned, but Hull still managed to place in the 100-meter hurdles and long and triple jumps.
“(Broadhurst) was always pushing himself to do (better), and I knew I could do that. Him stepping up and doing something big like that for our country made me think I could step my game up a lot this year and show him how I can do,” Hull said.
To honor her brother’s commitment, Hull was aiming for a sub-15.5-second time in the 100 hurdles to break the school record this spring while also looking to add another foot to her personal-best triple jump mark, which would have put it in the 36-foot neighborhood. The coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 spring sports seasons, though, leaving Hull and her counterparts with a competition void.
Of course, the coronavirus safety guidelines and social distancing measures have mostly kept Hull at home, often doing homework from online classes — “I do not like it. It’s terrible,” she said — or binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.
But she’s still finding ways to keep training this spring. The basketball hoop in the backyard and hurdle in the front yard are getting workouts, and Hull has been doing other stay-at-home workouts shared by CJI track coach Brittney Anderson. Following social distancing guidelines, she’s made it down to the track some, too.
While Hull held out hopes for a sophomore track season and would’ve even sacrificed some of her summer break to compete, she’s now had to adjust her thinking.
“I’m really hoping that there’s going to be a swim team this summer,” she said. “Last year I didn’t do that, but I’m really missing competing against people, so if there is one this year, I think I might jump in on that.”
A competition junkie, Hull feels especially sad for this year’s senior class that is missing out on its final sports season. There are even some selfish reasons — in the best way possible — she wishes she had one more opportunity to run and jump against her older rivals.
“I think it’s really devastating, because I wanted to compete against the greatest athletes again,” she said. “I won’t get to see them and learn from them, because a lot of them give good advice and they’re all really nice.”
By the time athletes return to the track next spring, Hull will be one of the upperclassmen.
And that can’t come soon enough.
“I just want to race someone in the hurdles,” Hull said. “That’s all I want to do.”