If Jon Whitcomb was just an excellent high jumper, he’d be leaving Hall-Dale High School as an accomplished track and field athlete. Throw in his prowess in the 110 meter hurdles, discus, and pole vault, and Whitcomb’s track and field resume is among the best in the state.

“He worked his tail off, and that’s what makes him a great athlete,” Hall-Dale track and field coach Jarod Richmond said. “He tries to be the best at everything he does. He can do anything in a track meet if you asked him to, because he loves the challenge.”

While Whitcomb won his second consecutive Class C state championship in the high jump, he reached the podium in all four of his events. Whitcomb accounted for 25 of Hall-Dale’s 38 points at the state meet, helping the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish.

For his efforts, Jon Whitcomb is the Kennebec Journal Boys Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Tanner Burton of Messalonskee also was considered.

With a high jump of 6 feet, 4 inches, Whitcomb had the top jump in the state on championship Saturday, regardless of class. Whitcomb began high jumping in junior high, soon after he took up track and field.

“It looked really cool. I tried (high jump) and fell in love with it,” Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb also cleared 6-4 to win the Mountain Valley Conference championship, matching the league’s 32-year-old record. Whitcomb also won the pole vault at the MVC meet, with a vault of 11-0, and placed fourth in discus and second in the 110 hurdles. Whitcomb earned athlete of the meet for his performance.

At the state meet, Whitcomb knew Max Mattson of George Stevens Academy would also contend for the title. He embraced the challenge, Richmond said.

“He’s a big meet performer. It helped him to know that he was being pushed,” Richmond said.

At the state meet, Whitcomb placed third in the pole vault, third in the discus, and fifth in the 110 hurdles. His main event was the high jump, and Whitcomb said the key to his increased success (he jumped 6-0 to win the state crown as a junior) was rest. Whitcomb jumped in just two regular-season meets, focusing on the MVC and state championships.

“The biggest key for me this year was rest,” Whitcomb said. “This year I knew I had much more competition.”

“He competed in every meet, but he spread out what he did. I think the value of rest can’t be overstated,” Richmond said. “Jon works so hard sometimes, I think he realized he needs to rest his body.”

Next year, Whitcomb will continue his track and field career at Iowa Western Community College. At IWCC, Whitcomb will put his diverse talents to work as a decathlete.

“It helps him to be always going, and in decathlon, it’s two days of that,” Richmond said.

The idea of Whitcomb competing in decathlon, a 10-event contest spread over two days, was first brought up a few years ago by the late Taylor Harmon, a longtime track and field coach in the Augusta area.

“I started doing it as a sophomore, when Taylor Harmon introduced me to it,” Whitcomb said. “I like the challenge of it.”

Added Richmond: “I really credit Taylor with helping him. Jon got out of his comfort zone.”

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