Cartersville native Miles Bearden is a recent graduate of the Darlington School and a national high jump champion who will add to the Wildcats’ success as he signed a track scholarship with Kansas State on July 26.
“[Kansas State] came up to me after I won nationals and said they wanted me to come visit,” Bearden said. “That was pretty cool because you don’t just get that opportunity. That’s the elite high jumping school in the country.”
The Wildcats have had seven national title winners in the high jump and have produced multiple all-Americans and Olympians, including Erik Kynard, Jr., who won the silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Attaining a scholarship to one of the premier college programs in the country is impressive on its own merit. However, the accomplishment is astounding considering Bearden had not participated in track and field at the high school level until his senior year.
“I just started high jumping because I’ve always played baseball, which conflicted with the track season,” Bearden said. “The track coach asked me to go out and he said they didn’t have any high jumpers on the team this year. He talked to the baseball coach to see if I could come out to one or two meets and that’s how it all started.”
“Yeah, I guess, everything so far has kind of come naturally to me.”
Bearden said he tried it on the first day of the season and jumped 6 feet. With each meet Bearden improved his jump by a couple of inches. At the Georgia state championship, Bearden jumped 6 feet, 10 inches. He then went on to win the high jump event at the New Balance National Outdoors Championship in Greensboro, N.C., with a jump of 7 feet, 1/4 inches.
Bearden was also a standout on the diamond. He played first base for Darlington School, batting .392 in 2013 while driving in 26 runs and scored 26 more for his team as it advanced to the Class A Private School Final Four.
He was strongly considering the University of North Carolina and University of Mississippi, but ultimately, Kansas State was the choice.
“That’s kind of the number one school in the country for high jumpers,” Bearden said. “That’s why I’m going there, but they also have a really good agricultural school and that’s what I want to major in. It’s a real good fit other than being 14 hours from my house.”