Julian Hubbard had gone too far to let a foot foul completely wipe out what at first glance seemed like, by his analysis, a “ridiculously far” jump.

So, between jumps at last weekend’s meet at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Maine junior triple jumper asked a track official for permission to measure his last jump, even though it wouldn’t count because he’d over-stepped the takeoff mark by half a shoe.

The jump measured out to roughly 49 feet, a foot more than his personal record. Hubbard was frustrated that he’d fouled, but he also took it as a sign that he was doing his best jumping at the right time and made anything seem possible for this weekend’s America East Conference championships.

“I’m really peaking well right now, so I have no idea (what to expect at the conference meet),” he said.

Given that, since his days at Cony High School, whenever he’s established a new PR he’s typically obliterated the previous mark by a foot or two, he believes “it’s not unrealistic to go 50 feet.”

“My form has gotten a lot better. I’m a lot stronger and faster. There’s no reason I can’t do it,” he added.

Hubbard could be poised to reach new heights in what has, to this point, been an up-and-down jumping career. After setting a school record and posting top-15 finishes in triple jump as a junior and senior at Cony, he enrolled at UMass-Boston for his freshman year.

He set a school record in the event as a freshman, but the school wasn’t a good fit financially or academically, so he looked to transfer. After flirting with America East track and field power University of Albany, he decided to return home to Maine.

He was disappointed with his first indoor season at Maine until he shattered his PR by a foot-and-a-half and finished second at the conference championships. That propelled him toward a strong outdoor season in which he posted two seconds and a third in the triple and long jumps and finished in the top 10 in both events at the America East meet.

He spent the summer working out with his former teammate and current holder of the University of Maine’s school triple jump record, Nathaniel Meade and went into his junior year expecting big improvements. But the Black Bear jumpers were pretty much on their own for much of the season because they didn’t have an assistant coach specializing in jumps.

Hubbard finished first in the triple jump in three regular-season meets, but didn’t feel he was reaching his full potential.

“It was really stressful for the first three-quarters of the year. I wasn’t really jumping all that well,” he said. “At the end of the year, I went to New England’s and I PR’d (47 feet, 11.25 inches) by a foot (and finished fifth in the triple jump) to make IC4As, so I was really psyched about that.”

He finished 15th at IC4A/ECAC championships, then got some good news heading into the outdoor season when Chris Flynn was hired as an assistant coach.

“He’s just been awesome,” Hubbard said. “I’m really happy we have someone that did triple jump in college and has more experience in it.”

Hubbard posted winning triple jumps at a pair of meets held at the University of New Hampshire, while also garnering one fourth-place long jump. Competing against jumpers from Arizona, Louisiana State and Penn State, he was ninth at LSU’s Alumni Gold meet in Baton Rouge prior to last week’s meet at UMass.

Hubbard, a news media major, has been jumping since eighth grade and loves the triple jump because it requires jumpers strength, power, technique and speed, but the speed must be controlled more than it is in the long jump. The slightest mistake in any of the three phases of the jump can throw the entire jump off, but a smooth and strong first phase can also lead to more of the same in the second and third phases and lead to records being shattered by a foot or two.

“It’s really hard to learn,” he said. “It takes a lot of time. It’s really hard to just pick up and do. It’s really such an unnatural event.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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