Craig Halyard RHS Athletic Hall of Fame 2012 Inductee

RHS Athletic Hall of Fame

Members of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame are those that have made a lasting impact on the school’s sports program as either student players, coaches, or supporters. Often the student players have continued to influence their chosen sports after high school by ongoing participation in athletics.

Craig Halyard, 2012 Inductee

In the annals of the rich track and field tradition at Ridgewood High School, Craig Halyard remains a notch above the rest. A graduate of the class of 1989, Craig is the finest long jumper and triple jumper in RHS history and one of the best jumpers ever in the state of New Jersey. More than two decades after graduation, he remains the best triple jumper in Bergen County history. In fact, several records he set in state and regional competitions still stand. He earned First Team All-Bergen County honors a jaw-dropping eleven times for both the long and triple jumps in both indoor and outdoor track. His list of accomplishments is topped off by his still standing Indoor New Jersey State record (set over 22 years ago) in the triple jump of 49’61/4”. He was named the New Jersey State indoor triple jumper of the 20th Century by the Newark Star Ledger.

While his first love may have been basketball, he was drawn to track and field to emulate the career of fellow New Jersey jumper and Olympian Carl Lewis. A trip to the Penn Relays when he was a freshman and where he ran on the 4×100 meter relay team further convinced him that this was his sport. Still, it wasn’t until Coach Dick Van Yperen (Mr. Van) persuaded him to try the triple jump that he found the perfect event. In his very first competitive triple jump as a sophomore, he was the instant county leader. By the end of the indoor season, he was fourth in the Eastern States Championships, setting a New Jersey sophomore class record. That same year he was named First Team All-County in the indoor triple jump, a feat he repeated for the next two years. He made the First Team All-County Team in the outdoor triple jump his junior and senior years. He was the Outdoor Eastern States Champion in 1988 and the Eastern States Champion in 1989 with a record-setting triple jump that still endures.

In fact 1989 was a remarkable year for Craig. His accomplishments competing against the top high school athletes in the country in the triple jump that year include a third place in the Penn Relays Invitational; second place, Arcadia (CA) Invitational track meet; fifth place, Golden West Invitational, and fifth place, Keebler Invitational.

While he was best known as a triple jumper, he was equally proficient in the high school long jump. He was named First Team All-County in the long jump for both indoor and outdoor seasons in both 1988 and 1989. He was the NNJIL Group 4 Champion for the outdoor long jump in 1989. Competing during the indoor season, he won the Dartmouth Invitational long jump in 1989, the same year he finished in fourth place in the same event in the National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 1988, he finished second at the Eastern States Indoor Track and Field Championships. He also won Brown Invitational, setting still another meet record.

A three-time varsity letter winner in both indoor and outdoor track, he also found time to earn two varsity letters in soccer before giving up the sport to focus on jumping. Two of his All-County honors were for his roles on both indoor and outdoor 4×400 meter relays, the outdoor race setting a then Bergen County record in 1988. But it was success at still another track event that he remembers most. Shortly before the 1989 Dartmouth Invitational, Mr. Van suggested he try the hurdles. While he won both the long jump and triple jumps at the Dartmouth event, setting meet records in both, he is more proud of finishing third in the hurdles, competing against some of the nation’s top hurdlers.

When it came time to choose a college, Craig joined two of his RHS track teammates, including fellow nationally ranked triple jumper and RHS Hall of Fame inductee Jen McDermott, in going to Georgetown where he continued his winning ways focusing solely on the triple jump. A four-year varsity letter winner in both indoor and outdoor track and field and Co-captain of the squads his senior year, he was Big East Champion in the indoor triple jump (1990), Big East Outdoor triple jump champ (1991 and 1993), and IC4A Champion in the outdoor triple jump (1992). He placed ninth at the NCAA National Championship in the outdoor triple jump in 1992. Competing on the USATF circuit, he was fourth at the USA Junior National Championships in the outdoor triple jump and was named an alternate on the US Junior Track and Field team. Much of the credit for his success he owes to Mr. Richard Van Yperen whom he says was the best coach he ever had at any level. Besides describing him as a great motivator, Craig says he was greatly influenced by the life lessons the coach instilled in his athletes.

RHS, was also a great place according to Craig. He remembers fondly the travel opportunities and the support he received and says he could not have had a better high school experience.

After Georgetown, Craig went on to receive an MBA from Columbia University and has spent his career in fixed income sales and trading on Wall Street. He is currently with Scotia Bank. He and his wife Kelli, a publicist for CBS News, are the parents of two young sons, Scottie and Alex, and live in Scarsdale, NewYork.

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