William Penn senior Jarred Posey keeps traveling farther and farther with every attempt of the triple jump. Who knows how far it will take him?
He's jumped in national competitions in North Carolina and New York City. And he already has a partial scholarship to Penn State, although Posey rarely concerns himself with the mileage.
Posey, 17, set a new personal best with an event-winning jump of 48 feet, 2.75 inches at the PTFCA Indoor track and Field championships at State College on Feb. 25.
His goal this season is to stretch out to 50 feet.
"Everyone finds something they are good at, and this is something I am good at, that I like to keep working at," Posey said. "It just makes me happy. It brings a joy into me."
To William Penn coaches, it was clear the moment Posey arrived that he could be special. The athleticism in his 5-foot-9 frame was hard to hide.
"When he hit the board on the long jump event you could see the explosiveness, just flying through the air," said one of Posey's coaches at William Penn, Jim Wilson. "We said: 'Wow this kid has some spring in his legs.' That's when we knew."
With older performers competing in the triple jump, it wasn't until Posey's sophomore year that he gave the triple jump a try. His first jump registered 39 feet, and the distance has continued to grow ever since with the hard work he has put into it.
"I just did it just to have fun because I was good at it," Posey said, "and after I saw myself progressing more and more, it started coming to me that I could be something at this and I just kept working harder."
An avid weight trainer, Posey started watching YouTube videos of some of the best triple jumpers in the world, analyzing their every step. He noticed, "The technique; how they bound so easily and smoothly.
"It amazed me how they did it," Posey said. "I just tried it myself."
"He absorbs everything," Wilson said.
With an event such as triple jump, technique is nearly everything.
The triple jump features three phases: the hop phase, the step phase and the jump phase. If a competitor is unable to complete all three in a perfect rhythm, then the jump results could be in danger.
Posey picked up on that rhythm naturally, Wilson said.
"I'd say Jarred is one of the best technicians in the state," Wilson said. "He does all three phases, and he does it well."
The results give that statement even more credence.
He earned the silver medal in last year's PIAA Class AAA competition with a jump of 47 feet and set the school's record with a leap of 47-9.50 in district competition.
Last summer, Posey finished eighth with a jump of 48-2 at the New Balance High School Championships at North Carolina A&T University.
Posey also competes in relays, hurdles and the long jump, with the latter being a focal point for the upcoming season.
"Essentially the long jump is the third phase of the triple jump," Wilson said. "So if we improve his long jump, now you're talking about possibly another 2 feet on his triple jump."
Right now, it's one of Posey's few personal goals this season. He already has a scholarship offer. Now, he just wants to have fun and help his teammates, he said.
"It's more of a love thing than anything that drives me," Posey said. "I just love doing it. I just love running track. It doesn't even have to be the triple jump. It could just be me running around this track a couple 100 times. I just love running track."
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