Kadeem Campbell knew exactly what went wrong.
“It’s just my step,” the Paul Robeson triple jumper said. “My hop is real good. I just have to get my step and my jump better, my jump is kind of horrible.”
By the sound of things you’d think Campbell finished out of a medal or well near the bottom of the field at the PSAL’s Night at the Sprints Friday night at the Armory. You’d be very wrong.
Campbell won the event with a leap of 44 feet and 7 º inches, except he was hoping for a bit further.
“I’m not happy because I was aiming for 45 today,” he said. “It’s my step. It’s not long enough. I need to bring my knees up more.”
Campbell knows how important an extra foot and a few inches mean.
At last season’s city championship he lost the triple jump to Thomas Jefferson’s Dahshem McFadden by nearly a foot. Campbell, a consummate worker, is in the early stages for trying to jump 47 feet by the end of the season and compete for not just a city title, but a state crown as well.
“First we are working on the run up, that’s pretty nice so far,” Robeson coach Jason Mollison said. “Then we have to work on getting the phases stretched out and then we will be good to go. He will be up there. I know that have we some pretty good jumpers out there, but he will definitely be in the top tier.”
That is exactly where teammate David Sandiford wants to find himself in the long jump this season. The senior is the defending city champion in the event with a leap of 6-02. Sandiford had a disappointing performance at the state championships. He finished 14th with a jump of the same height.
“My main goal is to medal at states,” Sandiford said. “Last year it just wasn’t my day. That’s my goal for the whole season. I’ve centered my whole track season around that. I definitely want to get back there and prove that I am better than that.”
Sandiford is also an excellent long jumper and finished third in the triple jump last Friday with a jump of 42-5.5, a new personal best. He said Campbell’s presence pushed him to the feat.
“Usually I try to go from the furthest board, but I wanted to go with him,” Sandiford said. “I try to push myself to go with him. He is better than me, but today I went from the shorter board.”
If you think Robeson doesn’t have enough jumping talent, Sandiford’s younger brother O’Neil has already jumped 40 feet in the triple jump and 6-03 in the high jump. Mollison said all three are skilled in all three jumps and the sprinting events. O’Neil Sandiford, a sophomore, hit a growth spurt this year and his jumping ability has taken off.
“We haven’t really begun doing any real strength work with him yet,” Mollison said. “There is no telling how high he is going to jump. He is going to be a scary one.”
Just like Robeson in the jumps this season.