Cascade HS high jumper qualifies for U20 world championships in Colombia

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 5:46 AM PDT
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TURNER, Ore. (KPTV) - The World Track and Field Championships have come and gone in Eugene, but a handful of teenage athletes from the Beaver State will now represent the U.S. at the under-20 Worlds in South America. FOX 12′s Nick Krupke went to Cascade High School to meet a big-time high jumper from the small town of Turner.

Emma Gates is a three-time USA track and field junior national champion high jumper raised in Turner.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Gates said. “It’s a lot of fun though.”

The class of 2022 Cascade High School salutatorian owns the Cougars all-time school records in the high jump as well as the 200 and 400-meter dash.

“All of my coaches and all of my teammates have always been there for me,” she said. “They’re so supportive and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without all of them. Just having that community behind me the whole time is great.”

Leaping individual state titles on the track freshman and senior year, bookending those lost pandemic seasons, Gates will soon pass through to college in Tucson, Arizona. She earned a full-ride to compete for the University of Arizona.

“I am excited that (Pac-12) Championships should be down at Hayward quite a bit so my family can come watch me,” she said.

Cascade HS high jumper qualifies for U20 world championships in Colombia
Cascade HS high jumper qualifies for U20 world championships in Colombia(KPTV)

Gates was twice a state champion with the Cougars senior year. First on the 4A volleyball court, then on high jump pit on the spiffy new grounds of historic Hayward Field in Track Town USA.

“I was really looking at that state record, but I am grateful to have cleared six-feet and a quarter-inch so that’s great,” Gates said.

Great since she was about eight.

“I was on a club team and I would look across the track and see all the high jumpers,” she said. “I told my mom when I went home, I was like, ‘I want to be a high jumper some day!’”

Gates’ best days are still ahead of her. She is one of four girls (Kate Peters and Mia Brahe-Pedersen from Lake Oswego and Roosevelt’s Lily Jones) from the state of Oregon to qualify in Eugene at the USA championships for the under-20 worlds in Cali, Colombia the first week of August.

“I am just really grateful that I was consistent and made it up to here,” Gates said. “This is my first time being on Team USA, so I am super excited!”

The 18-year-old has a part-time job in a pizza joint, but Gates would like the whole pie for the red, white and blue down in South America as she pursues perfection in every slice of life.

“I just want to be a better person,” she said. “Just always staying motivated to work hard on the track and in school.”

If you think you or someone you know deserves a high school spotlight, please reach out to Nick Krupke at