When Travonn White is standing at the start of the runway, preparing for his takeoff, he bends over at the hip while his left leg stays stiff. It kind of looks painful or like he might have a cramp.
Most long jumpers have their unique pre-jump routine and Mountain Pointe’s Travonn White is no different.
Until he goes airborne.
The Pride senior finds himself in rare company as evident by his recent indoor state record in the long jump. Just watch the YouTube video from the USTAF event in Flagstaff last month and see how the crowd and other athletes react when he hits the sand 25 feet and 3.25 inches away from the takeoff board. Everyone knows something special happened.
It broke a record from 1979 that Warren Wilhoite of Winslow set with an effort of 24-7.75.
More importantly, it opened White’s eyes to what is possible.
“It changes everything,” White said. “I was thinking 25 for the season (as a goal) and now I’m already past that. I have to rethink everything.”
He already had the Pride’s school record, knocking off newly crowned Olympic double medalist Will Claye, with a jump of 24-10.5 last year and won the Division I state title with a leap of 24-5.5.
The state record for outdoor at 25-10.75 is up next, but Pride jumps coach Larry Todd doesn’t plan on stopping there.
He is thinking 26-2 and leading the nation when his high school ends at the state meet.
“The main thing we are working on this season is sprint mechanics and power,” Todd said. “He does a great job at takeoff but at times he is out of position because he isn’t running with his hips down, which limits his knee drive. So far I have seen improvement in all that we have focused on, but we still have a ways to go.”
And White is ready to do it. He has developed a trust and seen his personal best increase by nearly 4 feet since transferring from St. Mary’s before his junior season.
“When he says I can do it and believes in me then I believe,” said White, who is weighing college options while trying to improve his grades. “The coaching has been the difference (from jumping just under 22 at St. Mary’s). I feel like I can do anything he says I can.”
That includes not competing again — at least in the long jump — until the 73rd Chandler Rotary, which is March 22-23 at Chandler High.
“It is the right thing to do,” White said. “It’s a big event and I can work at getting better and fine-tuning until breaking out at the big one.”
In the meantime, he will work at getting his time in the 100-meter dash down near the season goal of 10.62 seconds and besting last season’s time of 10.82.
Of course the main focus is still the long jump and White goes about his prep working a little differently.
“He doesn’t like to do conventional lifting in the weight room so we have to get creative with plyo(metrics) and functional weight bearing exercises,” Todd said.
Additionally, the Pride has three fourths of last year’s state breaking relay team in the 4x100 back in Kejavon Moore, Paul Lucas and White.
“We are going after it,” White said of the 4x100 record. “We know we can do it if we hit everything just right.”
Something White has already proven since he hit that takeoff board in Flagstaff.
“When you are in the middle (of the approach) you know if it is going to go right or not,” White said.
“On that one I didn’t feel anything until I hit the sand and I knew it was epic.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.