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Leaper and a bounder: High-flying jumper Logan Tittle grounded by pandemic

Fremont High’s Logan Tittle competes in the high jump at the 2020 Simplot Games in Idaho.
Courtesy Chris Tittle

Attention, college track and field coaches:

Since you are unable to meet with recruits during the quarantine and since you have little information about some of the late-bloomers, I am providing you with a free recruiting tip. You can thank me later.

His name is Logan Tittle, a senior at Fremont High. He’s a high jumper, although you wouldn’t guess it to look at him. He looks more like a sprinter, long jumper, javelin thrower and pole vaulter, and he’s all those things, too (think decathlon here).

Tittle is one of the best prep high jumpers in the nation. His indoor season was limited to just three meets before the coronavirus brought everything to a halt. He won all three meets — the BYU and Weber State invitationals and the Simplot Games. At Simplot, in what would be his final competition of the year, he cleared 6-foot-10¾.

That gives Tittle the third-best high jump mark in the country, trailing Indiana’s Kamyren Garrett (7-0½) and Kansas’ Tyus Wilson (7-0¼) and tied with Montana’s Trey Tintinger (6-10¾). Tittle’s mark is also an indoor record for Utah high school athletes.

His leap is even more impressive when you consider that he is about 5-foot-10, which means he is clearing a bar that is more than one foot above his head. Most of the top competitors are 6-foo-2 or taller. On several occasions, athletes or their parents have approached Tittle to tell him that it was fun to watch a “short, stocky” guy jumping against the tall lanky kids.

“He’s very explosive,” says Tittle’s coach, Duren Montgomery. “I’ve never seen anyone who has the pop he has in the high jump and long jump.”

The high jump is a highly technical event, but even more so for shorter jumpers, such as Tittle, who explains it, “My form is completely different (from that of taller jumpers). I’m almost sideways underneath the bar and then I have to throw my hips.”

Tittle weighs about 156 pounds, but he bench presses 285 pounds, according to Montgomery. He’s a one-man team. At the 2019 state track championship meet, he won the high jump, ran a leg on Fremont’s second-place 4x100-meter relay, and placed third in the long jump and sixth in the javelin. His best marks are 22-2½ in the long jump, 159-9 in the javelin and 11.30 in the 100 meters, but almost certainly would have improved them this season if he had been given the chance.

He had big aspirations for the lost 2020 season after a frustrating junior campaign. In 2019, he cleared 6-8 in the high jump, but in every meet that year he attempted 6-9 and failed to clear it.

“You get three attempts at each height, in every meet,” he says. “Do the math. That’s a lot of misses. I really wanted to get over that stupid hump.”

His frustration sustained him through offseason training sessions and the work was rewarded. In the first indoor meet of 2020, at BYU, he cleared 6-9 on his first attempt and then 6-9¾. At the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho, he made the 6-10¾ clearance, which, at the time, was the best jump in the nation.

“He worked hard all fall and spring getting ready for the season,” says Montgomery. “He was living in the weight room. His goal for two years was to get 6-9. It’s been his kryptonite.”

Tittle’s Simplot performance qualified him for the prestigious New Balance national indoor meet in New York City. Tittle and Montgomery collected sponsorship money to fund the trip, but just hours before they were going to fly to the meet, Montgomery received an email saying the meet was canceled. He called Tittle to tell him the news.

“He was pretty upset,” says Montgomery. “I was heartbroken for him.”

Almost immediately Tittle asked his coach what they would tell their sponsors. They had already spent the money on airfare and hotel (as it turned out, Delta Airlines would not refund the money).

“The sponsors were really understanding,” says Montgomery. “As far as I know none of them wanted the money back.”

More bad news arrived the next day. All spring high school athletic competition was suspended for two weeks. Weeks later the season was canceled completely.

“It was a brutal three or four days for (Tittle),” says Montgomery.

Tittle is philosophical about it all. “I’m still not over it (the cancellation of the season) — it stinks,” he says. “I’m just sitting in the house all day long and it’s getting old. But I don’t like to think ‘poor me’ when there are (other athletes) who depended on this season to maybe get a scholarship or simply to have one more year of track.

“I know there is the possibility that I’ll be able to have another season of track (in college). The body changes so much from 17-18 and some of these seniors could hit some big marks that might offer them opportunities. The virus won’t last forever — I hope that’s the case — but these past weeks affected all these peoples’ futures.”

Tittle’s empathy for other prep athletes is such that when he talks to recruiters on the phone he asks them what events they are trying to fill and then recommends athletes he thinks they should consider that they otherwise might not know about.

Tittle’s performance this winter made him a last-minute recruiting target for college coaches, but because of the pandemic — and because he was a late bloomer — his recruitment is complicated and uncertain. His grades don’t help matters either.

“I struggle with school,” he says. “I don’t know why. I didn’t take it seriously.”

Some schools have offered scholarships contingent on his graduation. “We’ve got him on track to graduate,” says Montgomery. “If he does that, doors will open for him.”

He was just starting to receive more interest from college coaches when the season was shut down. Weber State, Utah Valley University, Southern Utah and several out-of-state schools in the West have contacted him.

“I’m late to the whole recruiting game,” says Tittle. “I didn’t know I could go to college for this, and then suddenly it was my senior year and I needed to get on this. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen.”

After the 6-foot-10¾ clearance, Tittle immediately turned to other goals. He wanted to defend his state championship and he wanted to jump higher. “I wanted to make the 7-foot club,” he says. “Not a lot of high school kids can say they did that.” Tittle won’t have any more opportunities to compete in high school, but he’s hoping he can resume his pursuit of such goals in college.