The triple jump is one of the most difficult events in track and field to master.
It not only requires pure speed down the runway, but getting down the sequence of hopping, skipping, jumping, then sticking a landing.
But Medomak Valley of Waldoboro senior Nate Meade has gotten it down in a much shorter time span than most athletes.
Three weeks after taking up the event, Meade is 3-for-3 in the triple jump, winning it at the Panthers’ regular-season finale in Belfast, the KVAC championship meet and most recently the state Class B meet, with a leap of 42 feet, 6.75 inches.
He’ll be competing at Saturday’s New England championships in New Britain, Conn.
Meade was primarily a sprinter and long jumper throughout the spring, but after coach Jacob Newcomb figured Meade wouldn’t score too high in either of those events in the postseason, he stuck Meade in the triple jump.
“We were getting ready for KVACs and I was looking at his times in some of his events, and I noticed that his 200 was good but it wasn’t looking like he was going to score,” said Newcomb, who subsequently decided to try Meade in the triple jump.
It worked, and he won his first competition with a leap of 40-5, and followed that up with a jump of 40-11 at KVACs, beating out Waterville’s Alex Rowe.
“In the KVACs, I was the last jumper and his previous jump was three inches ahead of mine, and I just jumped seven more inches,” Meade said.
Newcomb described Meade as someone who is very coachable.
“He’s extremely easy to work with, mature beyond his years, real easygoing,” he said. “He does whatever is told of him, he really trusts the coaching.”
When Newcomb first informed Meade he was going to be triple jumping in the final regular-season meet, Meade was surprised, since he had never even tried the event.
“I just thought it was strange,” he said, “it was the last meet before the KVACs and he put me in it instead of the 200-meter dash, and I always thought the triple jump was a little complicated.”
However, since Meade had been competing in the long jump for Medomak, it was a fairly smooth transition for him to master the skills of the triple jump.
“It seemed pretty easy, but getting all three techniques down, that’s something I [had] difficulty doing,” he said.
Meade has also had a flair for the dramatic, as he beat out Waterville’s Rowe for gold in not only the KVAC’s, but the state meet, on his final jump.
“It feels great to win, that moment when you know your jump is farther than the previous person,” he said.
Meade’s 200-meter speed also enhanced his triple-jumping skills.
“That comes into play, it helps you go a lot farther when you’re up in the air,” he said.
Meade thinks he can soar to greater heights Saturday, hoping to jump in the high-43-foot range.
“I can go farther, definitely, and I’m not sure what my competition is but I’ll do my best,” said Meade, who also played three years of varsity soccer for the Panthers.
TRACK NOTES: Class C athletes, who competed in their state championship meet at Foxcroft Academy Wednesday, will be allowed to participate in New England’s after the New England Council agreed to extend the deadline for entries, allowing Class C qualifiers to compete.