Newton Native Holds UMass Boston’s Indoor High Jump Record
Tylor Hart can tell you how to set records. The junior sprinter and high jumper set the program record for indoor high jump (6-08.25 feet) his first two years as a Beacon and qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championships his sophomore year. As a new orientation leader in the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Beacon Beginnings program, he can show you the ropes on campus; as a part-time sales associate at Best Buy, he can recommend a cell phone.
But what’s not so easy to tell about Hart is that he is nearly blind in his left eye.
“If I cover my right eye, it’s extremely blurry. All I see are colors. I have no depth perception. The glasses that I would have to get would just give me slightly better vision,” Hart said.
For Hart, it’s not something he feels like he has to talk about. He’s lived with it his whole life. He’s learned to adjust.
“When I first started out, I was always jumping way on the other side of the bar. I missed a mat. But then I developed a way to close my left eye when I’m running, or close my eye when I’m up over the bar. The right eye can tell where I am,” Hart said.
Hart says he doesn’t usually tell his professors that he’s nearly blind. He sits to the left and far back of a class so he can take advantage of the strong vision in his right eye.
“In high school it set off a bad vibe with some teachers because they thought I was trying to sit in the back to start trouble,” Hart said. “I don’t like having excuses. If something happens, it happens for a reason.”
What’s just as remarkable about the Newton North High School alumnus is that after getting cut from the middle school high jump team, he didn’t start jumping again until his junior year. The school didn’t have a high jump coach, so the distance coach taught Hart from a book and DVD. Approached by UMass Boston his senior year of high school, Hart says he’s learned much more than just how to grow and finesse his jumping talent since becoming a Beacon.
“I’ve learned how to have a sense of discipline--to be able to run track and do school stuff and balance it out,” Hart said.
At one point, Hart didn’t think he was going to go to college. He wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force. But without the necessary 20/20 vision, he has new goals now. Hart is in the process of switching his major to exercise and health sciences.
“I’m hoping to coach, go to PA [physician assistant] school, and go from there,” Hart said.
Throughout his academic and athletic journey, he knows he’ll have the support of his coaches and teammates.
“Being a member of the track and field team has to be the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. You build a certain bond with people who are training with you. It’s a higher level of friendship,” Hart said. “I just want to do my best. That’s my goal. I want to be able to finish the season and know I put everything in it.”
About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.