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Cayden Spencer-Thompson knew he faced a busy autumn, so much so that he contemplated passing on his senior year of football at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
As one of the nation’s top prep performers in the triple jump and long jump, he spent considerable time weighing his collegiate options before verbally committing to accept a full athletic scholarship from the University of Louisville beginning next fall.
Spencer-Thompson took official visits to Louisville and the University of Iowa earlier this fall and made unofficial visits to Georgetown University before deciding to attend Louisville of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“When I got to the hotel the last night of my Louisville visit I made a list of the pros and cons of my options because I already knew what Iowa had offered me,” Spencer-Thompson said. “I thought if [Louisville] offered I’d accept because when I wrote down the pros and cons I just started smiling because it all started falling into place, it all made sense to me.”
A late change of heart in regard to football landed the wide receiver on the Lynx roster for a final season, and that decision has been rewarded with success for Spencer-Thompson and the team.
Mattanawcook, the No. 3 seed in Class D North’s Little Ten Conference, takes a 7-2 record into Friday night’s regional semifinal at No. 2 Bucksport.
“It was pretty much to be with my teammates,” Spencer-Thompson said of his decision. “We knew we were going to be pretty good this year and would have a good chance in the playoffs.”
One of Bucksport’s biggest concerns likely will be how to address Spencer-Thompson’s big-play capability. The 6-foot-4 wideout amassed a league-leading 449 receiving yards with five touchdowns on just 17 pass receptions during the regular season — a robust 26.4 yards per catch — for coach Pat House’s club.
Those stats came despite Spencer-Thompson missing two games, including MA’s 50-36 Week 5 loss at Bucksport at what arguably was the wildest game of the year to date in the league.
Those absences had nothing to do with injuries but everything to do with why Spencer-Thompson has been exceedingly busy. He was a coveted recruiting target for numerous major NCAA Division I track programs.
Spencer-Thompson earned All-America honors by placing fourth in the triple jump with a best of 48 feet, 10 1/4 inches at the Nike indoor national championships last March. Then in June, he won New England outdoor track championships in the triple jump and long jump, setting all-time Maine records at 48-3 3/4 and 24-1 3/4, respectively.
“I think as soon as I start gaining weight I’m going to have more power in my legs,” Spencer-Thompson said. “I’m already 6-4 and I’m skinny, so if I can jump this high now, imagine what I can do with some muscle, which is what I’m hoping for.”
Spencer-Thompson hopes to make a fairly immediate contribution to the Louisville track program led by head coach Dale Cowper and jumps coach Jeff Petersmeyer.
“I consider myself a 49-foot triple jumper and a 24-foot long jumper, and coach [Petersmeyer] being in the high 24-foot range in the long jump and the low 50-foot range in the triple jump would place at a college meet, so I’m 6 inches away in the long jump and a foot away in the triple jump,” he said.
Spencer-Thompson is scheduled to sign a National Letter of Intent on Nov. 14 during a ceremony at Mattanawcook to formalize his decision to attend Louisville.
But for now it’s back to football as Spencer-Thompson seeks to help Mattanawcook win its first LTC championship since 2000. During the winter sports season where he hopes to compete in both basketball and indoor track for the Lynx.
Spencer-Thompson would one of three starters returning from the MA basketball team that went 12-6 and reached the Class C North semifinals in 2018 — the Lynx’ first postseason appearance in six years.
Spencer-Thompson previously competed independently in indoor track but wants to represent his school in the sport this winter with the goal of setting state interscholastic records in the long jump and triple jump before turning his attention to a final season of outdoor track.
Spencer-Thompson, who took up track at age 5, has drawn much of his recent motivation for his athletic future from two NCAA Division I track champions from Maine — Lewiston’s Isaiah Harris in the 2018 men’s 800-meter run while at Penn State, and Casco’s Kate Hall in the 2018 indoor long jump and 2017 outdoor long jump while at Georgia.
“They were both a big inspiration for me,” Spencer-Thompson said. “I thought if these two kids can make it out from similar situations and do what they’ve done, why can’t I?”