Civilette to jump for State title

Fredonia’s Matt Civilette will compete for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Division 2 title in the triple jump as part of the Track and Field Championships today at Middletown High School.

The triple jump contest begins at 12:30 p.m. with the Division 1 competitors while Civilette, the No. 8 seed, will wait until 1:30 p.m. to make his attempts.

Civilette qualified for the State meet at Pioneer High School last weekend in the Section 6 Track and Field Championships. His jump of 44 feet was a season and personal best, but coach Bob Ball thinks it will take a longer measurement to take the crown this time around.

“He jumped his best by over a foot last week,” Ball said. “We’d like to see him better than that (today).”

Unlike Sectionals, where jumpers received three initial attempts and the top jumpers earned two more, it’s simply three and done for all competitors.

“That doesn’t really bother us,” Ball said. “His first couple jumps are usually his best. It doesn’t give a lot of room for fouling though.”

One deciding factor will be the amount of sand in the pit, which will be significantly more than Civilette’s seen this season.

“(The sand) isn’t really good,” Ball said. “It’s almost like they’re going to be uphill, but it’s going to be like that for all the jumpers. They’re calling for rain and that will play into it. It’s going to be like that for all the athletes so we’ll make the best of it and give it our best.”

Civilette wasn’t pushed in practice this week after his legs were worn out the day after the triple jump Sectional title win. He finished 11th in the long jump due to fatigue.

If there were any nerves on the bus ride to Middletown, Civilette didn’t show them.

“He’s a real social kid so he made some friends on the bus ride,” Ball said. “He made it to the State meet for indoor track, so he knows what to expect. We’ve prepared him mentally. It’s a matter of going out and doing it with fresh legs. He wants to make sure he gives himself every chance at success (today).”

Ball’s also been through the triple jump process before with John Conti in 2009. Conti made a jump of 44-8 1/4 in States that year and his coach thinks Civilette could better that today.

“We’d like to break that record,” Ball said. “John finished fifth at triple jump so that’s the highest at this level. Let’s start with getting your personal record and go from there. Take everything in stride, don’t be overanxious.

“We’re pleased to be here and very proud of him,” Ball continued. “We want to make the most of the weekend and he wants to perform his very best. We have the utmost confidence in him that he’ll do well.”