(WFRV) – Bay Port graduate Cordell Tinch’s track & field journey has been nothing short of remarkable, and now, he’ll have a chance to represent Team USA at the World Championships in Hungary this August.
Whether it was basketball, football, or track & field, Tinch was a star in every sport with the Bay Port Pirates. His track and field coaches saw the stardom early on.
“[Cordell] is the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen,” said Tinch’s Bay Port Hurdles Coach Eric Boehm.
“He’s so fluid. It’s like he floats,” current Bay Port Track Coach Andy Nuthals.
“One thing that I think is unique about [Cordell] is that it seems like the more people that are watching, he would rise to the occasion,” said former Head Bay Port Boys Track & Field Coach.
After graduating from high school in 2018, Tinch went on to compete in track & field at the collegiate level. When he thought his career was ending, it was just beginning.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took place, Tinch returned to Green Bay. The Big 12 Outstanding Freshman of the Year went from hurdling to selling cell phones at the local U.S. Cellular in Howard/Suamico.
“I was just, you know, living,” Tinch explained. “I thought I was just going to move up the ranks of the company, and who knows where we would get, but that’s where I was. I just took a break from track, from sports, from a lot of things.”
Nearly three years removed from competing, Tinch received a phone call from his old college roommate at Kansas that changed the directory of his career forever. The friend wanted Tinch to follow him to Pitt State to get back to his roots, track and field. Even though Tinch thought his friend would bail, he didn’t.
“I went into work for my last day, went home, packed up the apartment, brought some stuff back to my mom, and hopped on a flight,” Tinch recalled. “The rest is history.”
Tinch joined Pitt State’s track and field team for the 2022-23 season and instantly became one of the premiere hurdlers in the world. The Bay Port grad became the first athlete in NCAA Division II history to record three individual event national titles at the same championship when he won the 110-meter hurdles (12.87, +6.0w), long jump (8.16m, 26-9.25) and high jump (2.21, 7-3) at the 2023 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships. Not only did he break multiple records, Tinch was named the NCAA-II National Field Athlete of the Year.
“[Pitt State] was welcoming and just excited to see what I could do. A couple of my teammates that are there were my [prior] teammates and, I guess, were hyping me up to be this super-athlete, and I was like, ‘I haven’t done anything in three years. I don’t know if that’s even me anymore.'” Tinch laughed. “My first meet seeing everyone at the edge of the track just standing there, peaking their heads, trying to see what Cordell is going to do just because they wanted to see. That was enough motivation for me, and I was kind of ready for the rest of the season.”
Over the weekend, Tinch competed at the 2023 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships and qualified for Team USA after placing 2nd in the 110-meter hurdles. He finished the event with a time of 12.08, while the winner, Daniel Roberts, finished at 12.05.
“I was excited to finally be able to go out and prove that I belong in the sport,” Tinch expressed. “I’m living my dream as a child.”
As excited as Tinch was to qualify for Team USA, he was just happy that his parents were in attendance at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships. Tinch told Local 5 that the only time he got nervous was when his agent told him the broadcast was placing a microphone on his mom while he raced. It’s been a long time coming for the 22-year-old to have his parents there in support.
“I’m glad that the world has gotten to see it because my teammates, whether it was basketball, football, track, all of them have heard both of my parents,” Tinch said. “It was even more special for me because, technically, my college career is over, so my dad never got to see me compete in college just because of work, and my mom only saw me once, way back in 2019. For them to be at the meet where the goals that I had told them when I was too young to even remember them now — for them to be there when that became a reality was the biggest thing for me.”
Now, Tinch will head to Budapest, Hungary, to represent the country at the World Championships in August. An opportunity that Tinch can’t even wrap his head around.
“To be able to leave the country for the first time and be able to do something I love is something you dream about. So, I’m excited to go to Budapest and not only compete with the best that the United States has to offer but the best that the world has to offer. So hopefully, we can go out there, make the final, and make something happen,” Tinch said.