COLUMBUS — Last season Chase Thompson only competed in the long jump twice and nearly made it to the regional — missing by a quarter of an inch.
He used that as motivation this season to return and do bigger and better things.
The Preble Shawnee senior, who also plays baseball, spent more time at the craft this spring and soared his way to a seventh place finish at the OHSAA Division II state championships on Friday, June 1, with a jump of 21 feet, 2.25 inches.
Thompson faulted on his fist attempt, which may have been his best jump of the day. It also knocked him off his game little.
“I felt good in warm ups. Everything felt great. My fist jump was by far my best jump, but I faulted by about a quarter of an inch,” he said. “The third jump was my best jump of the day that was recorded but after that I just kind of felt stiff and not as loose as I should have been.”
Despite not jumping up to his standards, he said being on the podium was “the best feeling ever.”
He is also the first male track and field participant from Shawnee to place a the state meet in more than 15 years.
“It was awesome. It was fun getting here,” he said.
Shawnee coach Gary Koogle said Thompson may have been nervous.
“He came in a little bit jittery which is why I think he faulted on his first jump. He’s really a mental kid so that first jump really threw him out of whack a little bit,” Koogle said. “But he got a couple of good jumps in. I know he thinks he could do better and I think he could have to. He did what he could with what he had to work with.”
Koogle said Thompson begin believing he could reach the state meet after he recorded a 22-foot jump at the Fred Durkle Invitation early in the season.
“Ever since he hit 22 feet at South, he thought he could make it to state. That gave him quite a bit of confidence,” Koogle said.
Koogle also noted the near miss last year as motivation.
“That really kind of drove him throughout the year. I know he wanted to make it state. We were just taking it one step at a time,” Koogle said.
The Shawnee coach said with more work Thompson has a bright future.
“Last year he only jumped two or three meets. You could tell there was potential there. But this year with him playing baseball and running track we didn’t get to practice as much as I would have liked too. But anytime we did get to practice he was always striving to get better,” Koogle said. “He knows he can do better which is why I think this probably won’t be the end for him. He has tons of room for growth.”
Thompson said he plans on jumping for Miami University next season.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH