Anthony, or as he is better known, Tony Bridges ’18 finished his high school track and field career as the state champion triple jumper, school record holder for a triple jump of over 48 feet, with multiple all-state honors, and 52nd in the nation for the triple jump.
On top of his athletic accomplishments, Tony is a jazz musician, having played the trumpet in the Pine Crest jazz band, and the classic and jazz piano outside of school. He is passionate about what he loves: track, music, and education.
“In Middle School, I participated in multiple sports,” said Tony. “During my freshman year, I wanted to narrow the number of sports to pursue, so I focused on basketball and track.”
Listen to Tony speak about how he selected Cornell University.
However, that year Olympic triple jumper Fabian Florant joined the Pine Crest coaching staff, which was a game changer for Tony. “[Coach Florant] helped me jump 46 feet and 10 inches, which was the number one jump in the country for a freshman that year. That is when I knew I had the potential to pursue the sport with the goal of earning a scholarship to a Division I college.”
By the time Tony was discovering his passion for the triple jump, he had already been playing the trumpet for four years.
“I started playing in fifth grade,” said Tony. ”My dad owns a music company, and my older brother went to school for music. They kind of forced me to choose an instrument to play. I picked the trumpet — it was fun, and I liked it. Freshman year, I joined the jazz band at Pine Crest. I had been playing in my brother’s jazz band before that. He was involved in the Jazz Band of America in 2012, so I would listen to him play, and he would invite me to his jam sessions. He always invited me to play even though I wasn’t very good.”
The Balancing Act
To participate in the jazz band at Pine Crest, student-musicians begin class before the school day officially begins at 8:10 a.m.
“Everyday, I would come before school to practice with the jazz band,” said Tony. “I would have really long days at school sometimes! I would come before school to play with the band, and balance that with my track load and school work. I would have to miss workouts at times to rehearse or for a performance. I was able to work out a schedule with the band director and track coach to coordinate everything. It was a lot on my plate, but I wanted to do it because those are my passions: music, and track. I wanted to fit them both into my schedule.”
So what did his workout look like?
“During the school year, I would go to the weightroom three times a week,” said Tony. “I would go to the track every day after school. Monday was a sprint day, focusing on conditioning and mobility. Tuesday was a jump day, jumping, bounding and focusing on my technique. Wednesday was my technical sprint day. Thursday was another jump day, and Friday was a sprint day.”
During the summer, Tony hits the track everyday for four hours.
“It’s my most rigorous workout,” said Tony. “After practice, I go to the therapy room with the trainers, who will ice me, and use the stem machine on my muscles. It sends electric impulses to stimulate your muscles and loosen them to prevent soreness.”
When asked about his biggest challenge, Tony said “balancing my workload with school, music, and pursuing track to the fullest extent.” The summer before junior year, “ I had to balance my summer with tutoring and test prep, with my workout. It was a lot of balancing and knowing what I could actually do. I was cramming a lot in one day”
Tony’s work paid off when he reached his ultimate goal: being recruited by Cornell University for their Division I track and field team.
“It meant nothing was for waste,” said Tony. “It means everything that I worked for I could achieve.”
What is he most looking forward to about starting college?
“Pursuing academic and athletics with people who have the same passion for both,” said Tony. “Having other people who love track and field that way I do, and value education the way I do, I know they will push me to new heights. I am looking forward to that.”