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OLYMPIC DREAMS: Rollins hoping to add ‘Olympic Qualifier’ to his impressive resume

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By Chris Metcalf

LCAA’S FINEST

GENESEO – NYS Champion. Four-time National Champion. Olympic Qualifier.

Geneseo’s Kyle Rollins has already achieved two of those feats, winning a NYS pentathlon championship in 2017 for the Blue Devils followed by four NCAA D-III crowns, while competing in both indoor and outdoor track and field for St. John Fisher College, in 2019, 2020 and 21 (2).

The third – Olympic Qualifier – remains his current mission.

Rollins began training for the Qualifiers immediately following his performance at the Drake Relays last year when he jumped 2.25m (7’4.5″).

The 2024 Olympic Qualifiers will take place June 21-30 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

“When I jumped at the Drake Relays last year the feeling was surreal,” Rollins said. “It’s always great when I am able to jump a higher height than I ever have before as it is proof that what I have been doing during practice and in the weight room is really paying off. If you ask any track and field athlete, no matter the event, they will tell you that mental fortitude is an incredibly important trait to have when you are competing. Hitting higher heights will only have a positive effect on my confidence as I continue to compete against the other best jumpers in the nation.”

And Rollins is going higher and higher every day.

He’s on an incredible training regimen currently, with his eyes set directly on the big prize.

“My training schedule is rigorous as I prepare for the upcoming jump season,” he said. “My competitive jump schedule is not yet set, however, a few meets that I look forward to competing at include Indoor USAs, Drake Relays, possibly Mt. SAC Relays, and of course the Olympic Trials in June.”

Former Geneseo HS teacher/coach and current St. John Fisher cross-country coach Mike Henchen, who was the head T&F coach at Fisher when Rollins won his national titles, is confident Kyle can do just about anything when he puts his mind to it.

After all, Henchen had a front-row seat for several years watching Kyle compete on the highest of levels.

“It has been a distinct pleasure and privilege to watch Kyle progress from an elite high school athlete to four-time NCAA National Champion to Olympic Trials qualifier,” Henchen said. “Reaching this lofty level takes significantly more than pure athletic talent. Kyle’s focus on understanding the significant technical aspects of the high jump and his total faith in Coach Louis’ training program has propelled him to the ultimate level for a track and field athlete. I’m immensely proud of his determination, work ethic, and how well he represented St. John Fisher University. I will definitely be in the stands next June at Hayward Field.”

Rollins has stayed connected with his jumps coach Wenley Louis, who has since been promoted to head coach for the Cardinals.

And, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I still train with Coach Louis,” Kyle said. “My team and I were exploring options to potentially train in Toronto with a highly regarded high jump coach. However, after some time we decided it would be best to stick with the coach who got me where I am now. Through six years working with Coach Louis, I have improved my personal best jump each season, and we have both been working hard to get me jumping even higher this year.”

Impressively, Kyle will be joining two other former LCAA state champions for the Olympic Qualifiers.

Avon’s Joleigh Crye and Dansville’s Aidan Kreiley both qualified for the swimming trials.

Crye swims currently for the University of Cincinnati while Kreiley swims at the University of Louisville.

The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials take place June 15-23, 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, IN.

“It’s awesome to see so many talented athletes coming out of the LCAA,” Rollins said. “I always love to see local athletes succeeding in their sport, coming from such a small community it can be easy to feel as though there is no chance for us to make it so far, but we’re proving the opposite. With dedication to your craft, and a lot of hard work, dreams such as becoming an Olympian can start to come to fruition. I hope it also has a positive effect on the younger athletes who are just beginning their careers. To look up to others who came from the same area and are enjoying so much success will hopefully help fuel their drive to become the greatest athlete they can be.”

Since hitting that magical mark, Kyle has been receiving tons of support from his coaches, family and the entire community he lives in, including a former Geneseo HS standout athlete, Rebecca LeClair.

LeClair, a longtime news anchor at WHEC, now owns and operates Rebecca LeClair Communications.

“The support from community, friends and family has been outstanding,” Rollins said. “When I made the jump at Drake and won the event, the excitement generated from winning that event was incredible. The news of that success reached Chuck Salvaggio, a huge supporter and fan, and he rolled with it, networked with Rebecca LeClair and Team Rollins was established. Rebecca connected me with GRAAF, a local organization that assists athletes in the Rochester area by providing financial support.”

The cost of training for a run at the Olympics is extremely pricey and any help is very much appreciated and goes directly to help Kyle compete and achieve his lifetime dream.

“As the season ramps up, opportunities like this will be extremely helpful,” Kyle said. “Through personal donations and a GoFundMe drive, I have been able to train and maintain equipment and gear that I need to continue pursuing my Olympic goals. Travel costs, registration fees, nutrition and other expenses add up fast and will continue through Olympic trials.”

Donations are currently being accepted for Kyle’s Olympic Qualifying dream.

The ‘GoFundMe’ page can be found by searching “GoFundMe Olympic Trials for Kyle.”

Personal donations can also be made directly to an account set up for Kyle Rollins at ESL in Geneseo.

“Aidons Kyle Rollins à réaliser son rêve olympique.”
Translation: Let’s help Kyle Rollins achieve his Olympic Dream.
The XXXIII Olympiad 2024 will be hosted in Paris from July 26-August 11.

Doug McFarland Photography
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