Thomas Qualifies for State Championships by Winning Long And Triple Jumps

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There are very few things in life that a person can count on to happen. Some people say there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Within the world of sports you know Rex Ryan is going to say too much and the New York Mets will find a way to break their fans heart.

This winter a new certainty has evolved in the world of boy’s track and field. If there is a triple jump competition Thomas Johnson of White Plains will win the competition and you can take that to the bank. Johnson kept his undefeated streaked alive in the hop, skip and jump event by winning the New York State qualifying meet this past Friday at The Armory.

If that victory wasn’t enough Johnson also won the long jump competition. When assistant coach Ed Zemmel yelled down to Thomas to see how he did in the long jump the easy going and joking Johnson held up two fingers signifying second place. The smiling grinning on his face showed he was lying to his coach and he actually won.

Johnson won the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet 10 inches that was two feet beyond the second place competitor. His winning long jump was 21 feet 4.5 inches.

What made Johnson’s performances even more remarkable was the fact that he is coming off a knee injury that he suffered nearly two weeks earlier at the Class A Championship meet. Johnson only practiced jumping once between the two events.

“Warmer up today my knee felt great. There was nothing wrong with it. I wore knee braces to be safe,” said Johnson. “On the triple jump I was 100 percent. I was able to do pretty good in that. I’m pretty happy going into state’s. In the long jump (competition) my back started hurting. I fouled about three jumps and jumped for 21 (feet) to win it.”

During the actual competition Johnson seemed very relaxed by the way he was interacting with his fellow jumpers.  One wouldn’t have guessed spots to the state championship were on the line by looking at Johnson’s demeanor throughout the jumping events on Friday night.

“This is my fifth track season indoor and outdoor. I have been here I know what the atmosphere is like. I felt pretty confident coming in here because I have been jumping well pretty good for the whole season.”

He is a student of the triple jump competition. Johnson knows the top competition for the state championship will comp from a jumper in Section 6 whose best jump of the 2011-2012 season is four inches farther than Johnson’s best.

“One things about Thomas Johnson he is definitely a student of his sport (the triple jump). He watches tapes, he watches film, he watches other jumpers, he knows his competition. He is a true student that’s what makes his great as well,” said White Plains Coach Lamont McCormick.

Jailyn Twitty out of Amherst High School in Section 6 has a best jump of 47 feet 4.5 inches this winter while Johnsons best effort so far is 47 feet 2.5 inches a few weeks ago in the Westchester County Championships.

Johnson is very good at keeping things in perspective and knows there is a great challenge that lies ahead of him at the state championships this weekend at Cornell University.

“Next week I’m probably going to rest Monday through Wednesday. Thursday I’m going to jump and get my steps right make sure any final things I need to change and work on that. Friday I’m just going to be ready and hope for the best,” said a confident Johnson.”

He knows that he needs to pull together one of his best jumps of the winter season to capture the state championship. “Next week is going to be a major part of the season. I just hope that I still have enough kick in me to go out there and jump a 48 or 49 (feet),” said Johnson.

After the meet McCormick reflected on Thomas’ injury from the prior meet and how Johnson trained coming into Friday’s meet.

“Last meet and today basically what we were doing the workouts we were cut it down to just jumping  one time a week as opposed to two or three times. The rest is really what helped him. He just needed some time to rest,” said McCormick.

The state championship will take place at Cornell University on March 3rd.

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