Tyler Adams has experienced a surplus of success as a member of the Sam Houston State University men’s track and field team. The multievents senior has literally jumped over hurdles on his way to becoming the 2018 Southland Conference Men’s Indoor Athlete of the Year and winner of Outstanding Field Events Performer.
Adams tremendous success is nothing new. He holds the school record in the men’s indoor high jump (2.17 meters) and ranks in the top three in outdoor high jump, indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon. His presence was felt the moment he put on his SHSU uniform for the first time four years ago, and he has been a shining star ever since he was named 2015 SLC Indoor Freshman of the Year, an honor that fellow Bearkat Zachary Johnson took home this year.
“[Zachary] is a phenomenal athlete and even better guy,” Adams said. “He works hard and definitely has the talent. I hope and pray that he surpasses anything that I’ve ever done.”
His accomplishments reach beyond the bounds of the university. His performances at conference meets have jumped off the page. During his freshman year he took the top spot in three different events: two indoor and one outdoor. He took the title in both the indoor and outdoor high jump (2.16 and 2.12 meters, respectively). He also won the indoor heptathlon that year, tallying 5,221 points. He defended that title the following year when he placed first once again in the heptathlon with 5,227 points. 2016 also saw Adams at the top of the field in the outdoor decathlon where his 7,259 points took home first place.
“The secret is to never let the success get to your head,” Adams said. “Always pushing, always trying to get better with everything you do and never settling for any place or score you get.”
Adams, an engineering technology major, also prides himself on his performance in the classroom as well as on the track. He picked up another incredible honor in 2016 when he was named the SLC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Year; he was also named to the SLC Track and Field All-Academic Team that year.
“Your studies are always important,” Adams said. “At some point in your career, track is going to be over, and it’s what you have to fall back on that gets you through the rest of life.”
SHSU’s team success in recent years is impossible to ignore. With the men’s and women’s teams both taking the crown at the 2018 SLC Indoor Championships, the Kats have now swept the conference meet three years running. The program has been nothing short of dominant during Adams time at SHSU, and this year he got the opportunity to showcase his skills at the NCAA Track and Field Indoor Championships.
His fighting spirit led him to shine on the national stage as he won the heptathlon high jump with a mark of 7-feet 2-and-a-half inches, a new NCAA Indoor Championship record. His triumph shifted to the big stage as he became the first SHSU athlete to ever bring home a medal at an NCAA Championship event. Adams claimed the bronze as his school-record 6,081 points was enough to finish in third place. His victory was bolstered by his personal-best 5.97 second time to win the 60-meter hurdles.
“The NCAA event was very fun,” Adams said. “There were great competitors. It was an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. There were top level athletes from around the nation. It was top-notch competition, and it was great to be part of that.”
With graduation approaching the rest of the SLC basically staring up at Adams on top for the last four years, he will pass the torch to his younger teammates that will look to continue SHSU’s dominance for years to come. As for Adams, he hopes his time on the track might not be over quite yet.
“If track keeps going the way that it’s going I plan to pursue that maybe for a couple more years and see where that takes me,” Adams said. “I’ll probably look into construction management jobs. I really enjoy that. I have some decent resources out there, and hopefully there is more to come. You never know what path life is going to take you down.”
Adams will leave behind a legacy at SHSU. The 6-foot 3-inch senior out of Buffalo High School credits his faith, excellent coaching staff, trainers, family and friends for his dedication in the classroom and success of the track. His name will live on in the record books of the university, the conference and the nation.