Jake Warn ended the spring track and field season where he ended the previous one, on the first-place podium at the Class B state championships.

Going into the season, the Winslow standout didn’t know he’d be there. He didn’t even know if he’d be on the track. A break in his foot from the previous season made running painful and jumping a potential time bomb, and Warn was thinking about passing on his senior spring.

“I wasn’t too confident in participating in track, just because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to compete. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the last bit of my senior year just watching,” he said. “But I knew if I didn’t, I would regret it. And once I joined, it just pushed me to get the ability to jump. It pushed me a lot harder.”

It was a good decision. Warn ended up recovering and resuming his status as one of the best jumpers in the state, repeating as the triple jump champion and also notching top-five performances in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Class B state championships. His winning jump of 44 feet, 2.5 inches was the second highest in the state behind Mattanawcook’s Cayden Spencer-Thompson, and for his performance, Warn is the Morning Sentinel Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Warn’s teammate Max Spaulding and Skowhegan’s Kyle Jacques were also considered.

“He just naturally has the form for triple jump,” coach Ken Nadeau said. “To see what he did is really remarkable.”


Even after Warn decided to come back following surgery on the foot, his return to competition became a guessing game and feeling-out process. Nadeau worked with Warn and his parents about a strategy for easing him back into activity, and feared the entire time the dangers of pushing one of his best athletes too hard.

“I just questioned if he could do anything, honestly,” he said. “I had to kind of listen to him. I talked a lot with his parents about where he was at, and I just didn’t want to sacrifice future injury.”

Even when Warn made his return to the track, his signature event was still in doubt. Few events put a demand on the lower body like the triple jump, and the first month of the season went by without Warn even trying a single leap in competition.

“Jumping was definitely what I was mainly worried about,” Warn said, “just because that was what I felt caused the injury in the first place.”

“The triple jump is that event where he jumps off that foot that he broke and lands on that foot again, so he’s doing double impact,” Nadeau said. “He jumps with such force that when he lands, if he doesn’t land correctly … every time he jumped, I was like ‘Oh, man.’ ”

Warn finally returned to jumping in meets at the Community Cup in mid-May, making an astonishing debut with a winning leap of 44 feet, 7.25 inches. The circumstances made the leap even more remarkable; not only was Warn jumping for the first time all season, but Skowhegan’s Jacques had taken the lead in the event with a jump of 44 feet, 0.25 inches.


It didn’t last. Warn shrugged off any lingering notions of caution and posted his longest jump of the season, breaking his own school record and taking the lead for good.

“I’m thinking to myself, this kid is like Superman. It was one of the highlights of my career. I’ve never seen a kid with such determination just to do that,” Nadeau said. “It’s really kind of incredible. … He just put on a show.”

“I had done a few jumps at practice, but hadn’t let one loose yet,” Warn said. “So when the time came when it was getting down to the finals, I let one go and it happened to feel good. I popped a big one and it just kind of took off from there.”

From there, Warn was the athlete he and Nadeau wondered if he’d have a chance to be. He won the triple jump at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships (43-1.5) while also winning the 100 (11.56) and finishing second in the 200 (23.43), and then won his third straight triple jump title at the Class B championships at Dover-Foxcroft while also finishing fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200. His states success was nothing new, but given his ordeal getting there, Warn said there was a special feel to it.

“This one was definitely the most memorable,” he said. “My senior year, and just knowing how hard it was this winter. It just seemed for the longest time I didn’t know it was going to happen, and when it actually happened, it was kind of this unreal feeling. It was a very cool experience.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638


Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

Comments are no longer available on this story