It wasn’t how well her season started or the numbers that she put up that surprised Erskine Academy indoor track and field coach Dave Hickey. Actually, Hickey said nothing surprised him about Jade Canak. He was however, impressed with how consistently good the Erskine junior was on a daily basis.
“I think the thing that was quite impressive, especially with jumpers where you might not hit your steps or just have a bad day, was that she was able to sustain it throughout the whole season,” Hickey said. “It seemed like every meet, she broke a (school) record.”
Canak did indeed enjoy a record breaking season. In the Eagles first meet of the season, she broke the school mark in the long jump and triple jump. She continued her successful season all the way to the Class B state championship meet, where she finished third in the triple jump and fifth in both the 55-meter hurdles and the long jump. For her success , Canak has been named the Kennebec Journal Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Canak said her No. 1 goal this season was to stay healthy. She suffered a back injury her freshman year while high jumping and said it limited her for some time. Recovering from the injury, however paid dividends.
“I did a lot of strength training between seasons,” Canak said. “I was trying more advanced exercises than I ever had before and that made the biggest difference.”
That strength training helped Canak to her success as a jumper this season, according to Hickey.
“She has great core strength, she has really developed that,” Hickey said. “For a jumper, that is vital. She is out over 35 feet (in the triple jump) now.”
The triple jump is Canak’s favorite and probably best event. She holds the school record in both the long jump and triple jump, but said he enjoys the technical aspects of the triple jump.
“Unlike the long jump where you just run up and jump as high as you can, with the triple jump there are three phases and you can build those skills,” Canak said. “Those tweeks can make a huge difference and it feels incredible when you make an adjustment and and it works.”
Canak set her personal record in the triple jump at the state championship meet, finishing third with a jump of 35-feet, 1.25-inches. This season, she said she worked on “finding her ups.”
“Especially during my second phase, keeping my legs in the air as long as possible,” Canak said. “You are trying to fight gravity and fight relaxing. You have to have that mentality that my legs can’t touch the ground.”
Canak showed those “ups” in the long jump as well this season. She set the schol record in the event at the Bowdoin Realays with a leap of 15-10. She later pushed that to 16-9. She finished fifth at the state championship meet with a leap of 15-8.75.
She was also fifth in the state championship meet in the 55 hurdles, an event she did maybe three times this season, according to Hickey, with a time of 9.36 seconds. She competed at the New England championships in the long jump, finishing 16th with a leap of 16-0.91.
“That most impressive thing, as a coach, is she raised the bar at every meet,” Hickey said.
This spring Canak hopes to expand her reportiore of events. She has recently started competing in the pentathlon in junior Olympic competitions and would like to do the heptathlon, but is not yet a pole vaulter. That may come, she said.
Scott Martin — 621-5618