The Road To ACU

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.– The road to Abilene Christian University has been an interesting one for West Salem’s Tyce Chaney.  A lot of work has gone into the opportunity that he has taken full advantage of.

A lot of grind, a lot of work and effort went into it.  A mentally challenging time for sure over the course of his High School career to get to this point.

Following his freshman year, where he was on the 4×400 relay team that finished fifth in 6A, the Coronavirus Pandemic derailed what could’ve been a promising sophomore season. 

But instead of sitting back and doing nothing, he went to work as he used important tools in his toolbox to help him prepare for what he was expecting to be a promising junior year with his father and mother.

“It’s really a blessing to have them in my life because my mom is really good at supporting me and my dad was really good at pushing me.  With his experience, he knows exactly how to train me on what to do.  How to prepare for races and it’s something that…if I didn’t have them throughout Covid and my injuries and all this, I don’t think where I’m at.

“It’s really a blessing that I have them to push me and to train me.”

Chaney’s father, Ryan, coached Track and Field at Willamette University and Corban University as well as Sprague and North Salem High School as a sprints coach.  The elder Chaney helped his son stay with it during the early days of the Coronavirus Pandemic during what would have been Tyce’s sophomore year.

For the older Chaney, he was also a decorated athlete that competed at George Fox University and ran professionally until he was roughly 29-years-old.  Taking part in the Olympic Trails twice as a 400-meter racer before stepping away from competition when Tyce was born.

Chaney (front row, center) stretches out at the start of practice Monday afternoon at West Salem High School (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Tyce felt ready to go during the six-week season that came around his junior year for West Salem.  Sadly however, three-weeks in the then-junior pulled his hamstring.  Sidelining the runner for the remainder of the season and having him hitting the reset button going into the summer before his senior season.

But when he was good to go, he took full advantage of the off-season opportunities to get some races in.  Boosting his resume for when he was contacting colleges, ACU included, with high-level competition through the AAU Circuit.

He won the AAU Region 21 Qualifier in the 400-meter, finished fifth at the West Coast Nationals, second at both the USATF Oregon Association Youth Track and Field Championships and the Resolute Summer Series Meet number 3 before finishing his Summer at the AAU National Junior Olympic Games.

The latter he PR’d with a time of 49.36 seconds.

“It made me a lot stronger mentally.  Being able to push through that and the meets I went to last summer were all super high level, so coming into this season there’s nothing I haven’t seen,” Chaney said.  “The mental toughness and the competition I’ve seen are two key pieces to being able to succeed this season.”

It’s that mental toughness that has set Chaney up for success at this point of his high school career.  He’s easing back into it this Spring, having competed in the 400-meter and the 4×400-meter relays twice over the course of the first month of the season.

A slow grind for sure as Chaney’s embarking on his senior season with a lot of lessons learned and experienced going into this season and into his collegiate career ahead.

“It was a slow grind.  I knew it would work out at the end just because I put in so much work in,” Chaney said.

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