The state indoor triple jump championship figures to be competitive, exciting and, quite possibly, very Long-Island centric. And Manhasset’s Meldon Grant figures to be right in the thick of it.
When the first jumpers toe their marks at the indoor state championships, scheduled for March 2 at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, Grant will be well-conditioned and ready to go.
“I feel like where I am right now can definitely be improved, but it will get me to where I need to be,” Grant said.
Grant jumped 47 feet, 3½ inches at the Nassau State Qualifier on Feb. 14, the fifth-best triple jump mark in the state, as of Friday. Salif Mane of Taft Educational Campus in the Bronx was tops with a 50-8½ flight and Uniondale’s Jadan Hanson was third (49-1¾). Mount Sinai’s Kenneth Wei was fourth at 47-8 ½, according to milesplit.com.
Grant added a victory to his resume with a jump of 47-1 at the Eastern States Indoor championships at the Armory in Manhattan on Feb. 19.
“I felt like I was focusing on my phases, really stretching, getting my legs out there,” Grant said. “…My landings really improved during the win [at Eastern States] and I felt like I was in the right mindset. I was just feeling hot that day.”
Grant hopes that hot streak continues for at least another week.
“My goal is number one,” he said of the upcoming state championships. “Every time I step on that runway, I try to get number one. I always try to be the best that I can every time I jump.”
Grant said that the final piece of his jump — his landing — is finally at a point where he’s comfortable. In an ‘event of inches,’ the landing is crucial.
“My landing has been a weak point for me in the past,” Grant said. “I feel like my more mediocre jumps were due to my lack of landing. But I was able to improve largely from the beginning of the season until now.”
He’s done that by extending his arms and legs as much as possible to get those final few centimeters.
“Those two centimeters can really make the difference between a lousy jump and a terrific jump,” he said.
Grant’s state qualifying jump was a Manhasset school record, he said. The feat kept him up at night…but in a good way.
“That was my main goal that I wanted to do,” Grant said. “I wanted to put myself in history and make my mark...I felt ecstatic. I’ve never had such a feat like this. So, I was smiling the whole time. I couldn’t even go to sleep. I was texting my mom on the bus on the way back. I was just so excited and happy to be part of something very great.”
Grant has a chance to be part of another great thing, getting himself on the state podium.