As we enter the winter sports postseason Kansas Pregame will start to look at some of the state's spring sports standouts, starting with Hutchinson senior Jayla Bynum
Hutchinson High School’s Jayla Bynum saved her best throw in the shot put for when she needed it most.
Her last throw of the 2018 season, which was recorded at 42 feet, 4.25 inches, not only won her the 6A state championship, but it also broke the school record previously held by 2016 graduate Alex Rodriguez, who went on to throw for two seasons at Hutchinson Community College.
For Bynum, who grew up in a family full of football and basketball players, track and field has not necessarily come natural to her, but through hard work she has become one of the best throwers in the state.
“The past three years of high school weren’t the easiest, but it was nice to see my hard work pay off last year by winning a state championship,” Bynum said.
Bynum’s dedication has not only won her a state championship and a school record, but it has also earned her a scholarship to throw at Indiana State University. The transition from Hutchinson High to the Division I level won’t be easy, but Bynum is not one to shy away from challenges.
“I feel like I still have so much more potential than what I’ve shown and I believe Indiana State wants to invest in me as much as I want to help build a strong, winning program there,” Bynum said. “The coaching staff has high expectations for me, but knows it is going to take a lot of hard work to get there, and we both believe I’m willing to do whatever it takes and I won’t stop working until I reach my goals.”
Like many kids in middle school, Bynum’s decision to do track and field stemmed from a desire to socialize with friends and get away from class. Fast forward to Bynum’s senior season of high school, and competing in track and field has developed into one of her passions.
“If you would’ve asked me my freshman or sophomore year if I was going to do track in college, I probably would have said no,” Bynum said, “but now I can’t think of myself doing anything but track.”
According to Hutchinson head coach Andrew Schroter, Bynum showed potential as a freshman, but has worked extremely hard to get where she is today.
“We had some really good throwers earlier in her career that she was able to learn from,” Schroter said. “She’s very competitive and she holds herself accountable, which is fun to watch.”
Bynum’s competitive drive also propelled her to a runner-up finish in the discus and a ninth-place finish at state in the javelin last year. At times, Schroter says Bynum can be her biggest critic, which he believes pushes her to achieve personal bests.
“Sometimes she can be hard on herself, which can be a good sign for all competitors,” Schroter said. “We’re expecting big things from her this season.”
Expectations are high for Bynum entering her senior season. Not only will she be the favorite in the shot put, but with Olathe North’s Dana Baker graduating, she will also be the favorite in the discus.
But with a state championship and school record already under her belt, Bynum has little left to prove.
“I’m just looking forward to finishing my last high school season on a high note,” Bynum said.
Gallagher Martin is a sportswriter for the McPherson Sentinel and Kansas Pregame. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Kansas Pregame covers high school sports in the Sunflower State. Know of a great story that needs to be told? We want to hear from you! Email us the next great story or video focused on Kansas high school sports at firstname.lastname@example.org.