Busy spring track and field season fast approaching
SUTHERLANDS RIVER – When you say jump, he says how high.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON – THE NEWS
Kaelan Schmidt, 16, has enjoyed a lot of success as of late, having won a silver (triple jump) and gold (high jump) at the 2013 Legion national youth track and field championship, the 2013 Athletics Nova Scotia midget male athlete of the year award and a number of provincial medals. But on a recent trip to Florida he learned how much he could push himself physically.
Down in the “Sunshine State” for two weeks in March for track and field training, he was pushed to his limits. Athletes were training twice a day and at first Schmidt didn’t think he’d be able to handle their schedule.
“At first I was a little wary of if I could do that every day,” he said. “It was just getting there and getting up and wanting to work and wanting to go as hard as you can to get better.”
While there he did get better and he was able to jump a personal best height of 1.93m at the second track meet he attended during his trip, the Disney Invitational. That jump was good enough for third place at the meet, which had youth from Grades 9-12 competing in the same division.
“The amount of people down there in those competitions was insane,” said Schmidt. “There was at least 60 people in one of the meets for high jump and it took so long.”
The number of competitors was a big adjustment for him as he normally warms up and starts jumping soon after. At the meet in Florida he was almost an hour and a half after he finished warming up before he jumped, meaning he had to warm up a second time.
With the number of competitors he waited to go in until they were at a height that he normally started at. That was a learning experience for him as there are 16 competitors at NSSAF provincials (four per region) and approximately 20-25 at Legion nationals.
“It was completely different to what we have here and the way they run it was completely different too,” he said. “They started at five feet and then went up by threes (inches). They had so many people jumping at that height though and everybody gets three jumps. If they made it, when they moved it to 5’3 they got three more jumps or moved on. It honestly took an hour and a half to two hours until I jumped.
“That was at the first track meet, at the second one I learned and I didn’t start warming up until I needed to.”
Out of his two-week experience south of the border he said the biggest lesson he will take forward is the training and how to do that every day.
“It was a great experience to learn that you just need to do it every day, you have to put in the work,” he said.
“It was a great kick start to what will happen this season and just being in that environment really changes your mindset.”
Shortly after he returned he joined his club team, Pictou County Athletics, for their meet in Moncton. He finished first in the high, triple and long jump events, helping the team finish second overall in the team standings.
With the month of April off for events he has been training for events the entire month of May.
He will attend the Athletics Nova Scotia Invitational on May 3 in Halifax and the Pictou County Athletics school invitational on May 10.
From there the school season starts for track athletes with districts May 23-24 and regionals May 30-31. Provincials will be held June 6-7 in Sydney.
For Schmidt his focus is continuing to better his jumps in the coming meets and achieve at least the 1.85m standard at a provincial meet to help him qualify for Legions this summer. Only the top two in each event from each province attend Legions.
He will compete in the youth (16-17 year old) division this year for the first time. He expects it will be tough, but if he continues to use the lessons he learned from training in Florida and over the last year with Pictou County Athletics he feels he’ll be up to the challenge.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris