Trey Causey established himself as one of the University of Virginia's all-time best jumpers in his freshman year, but now he'll be making his mark in a new home.
The 2018 Handley graduate made the decision last month to continue his track & field career at another NCAA Division I school, the University of Kentucky. Causey — who was competing at Virginia on a partial scholarship and will do the same at Kentucky — will be able to compete immediately. Baseball, basketball, football and men's ice hockey are the only sports that the NCAA requires athletes to sit out a year for transferring.
An All-American and state high jump champion in 2018, Causey continued to shine in Virginia, posting the fourth-best indoor and outdoor marks in school history in that event this year and the ninth-best long jump in school history in outdoor track. Causey earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors by placing fifth in the conference's indoor meet.
But in a phone interview on Tuesday, Causey said it was time to move on.
"The situation at U.Va. just wasn't the best for me. It just wasn't a good fit," said Causey, who declined to give specifics in a phone interview on Tuesday. "That led to my decision to transfer."
Causey will be joining a Kentucky program that competes in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference, which consists of 14 colleges. At this year's NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, SEC schools claimed four of the top seven and eight of the top 16 positions (Kentucky, which placed ninth in the SEC meet, was 33rd). The highest finisher from the 15-team ACC was Florida State (17th). Virginia placed 18th.
Causey said there's a lot to like about the Wildcats' program. Causey will have the opportunity to work with jumps coach Kris Grimes, who was named the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year for his work during the indoor season this year.
"It's a good program and very respected," Causey said. "A lot of great athletes come out of Kentucky and they have a great coaching staff. When I went on my visit [on July 22, Grimes] was talking to me a lot about what he was going to have me do with the high jump and long jump and really explained things well. He knows what I need to work on and talked about the different movements I need to use in those jumps. He's a very technical coach."
An economics major, Causey said he also likes what Kentucky has to offer academically.
"I visited with a rep there, and I like their program," Causey said.
The 6-foot-4 rising sophomore was impressed enough to tell Kentucky two days after the trip that he wanted to be a Wildcat. Causey announced the news on social media last week.
"I love the idea of competing in the SEC," Causey said. "The competition will raise my game."
Causey did have a lot of impressive moments in Charlottesville. His best long jump as a Handley senior was 23 feet, 2.5 inches, and for the Cavaliers he recorded a mark of 24-3.5 to place ninth at the ACC Outdoor Championships, the second-best performance on the team that day.
In the high jump, Causey cleared 6-11.75 at the ACC indoor meet to place fifth overall and second on the team. He cleared that same height at the Virginia Challenge outdoors in April. He cleared 6-6 to take ninth at the ACC outdoor meet, then jumped 6-9 at the NCAA Division I East Region Preliminary Rounds to take 31st in his final performance of the year.
Solid efforts, but Causey was unable to improve on the mark of 7-0.25 that he had to place second and earn All-American honors at the New Balance Indoor Nationals as a high school senior.
"I was a little bit disappointed with my performance at U.Va., but one of the highlights was getting fifth at the ACC for indoors and being somewhat consistent with that seven-foot area," Causey said. "I want to consistently clear seven feet in the future."