That’s the comparison Anniston volunteer assistant track and field coach Joe Jankoski made when surmising the obstacles the school’s jumpers have faced for years.
Despite not having a long jump pit to train at their track across from Chink-Lott Memorial Stadium for their events for much of the season, five Anniston athletes qualified for the state track and field championships in Gulf Shores this past weekend in the long and triple jumps.
Jankoski, the executive director at the Calhoun County Community Development Corporation, recently decided to get one dug. Hopefully, the ability to train and go through the full motion required to complete a jump will open up some potential opportunities for college, where track athletes specialize more as opposed to competing in four events.
“Talent takes you very far,” Jankoski said. “Training can take you to that next step. Based on talent and some training, these guys were able to qualify.”
The space for a pit was there, but it hadn’t been used in roughly 20 years. From time to time, Anniston would use Donoho and Ft. McClellan’s facilities to practice the jumping events. However, transporting students from both Anniston High and Anniston Middle to an alternative site to practice was problematic.
“The ability to train right here locally in our spot helps us immensely,” Jankoski said.
After finding the dimensions — the pit is 9 feet wide, 25 feet long and 18 inches deep — Solutia Global Solutions helped Jankoski find funding, and Allen Excavating dug the pit.
Webb Concrete donated the sand.
“Sometimes you just have to find people who are in areas that might be able to help you,”Jankoski said. “They were gracious enough to help us out with this.”
The project isn’t complete yet. Jankoski said he’s been quoted a price of $1,500 to repave the runway, leading to the pit. The strip would be 130 feet long and four feet wide.
The strip would also double as an area for the hurdlers, who currently train on grass, to practice more effectively.
Jankoski has secured $450 toward the runway and is still in search of funding to go through with the project.
• Woodland’s Howard receiving big time interest: At the beginning of football season this past fall, Woodland coach Larry Strain handed running back Michael Howard a letter of interest from Ole Miss.
Since then, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior said, things have taken off.
Howard, a first-team selection to The Star’s All-Area squad, said he suspects he should receive his first offer from North Carolina State soon. He’s also received interest from LSU, Arkansas and Tennessee.
He attended spring games at Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi and was invited to Tennessee’s.
Howard rushed for 1,602 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.
Strain said 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive lineman Al Davis, also a first-team all-area choice, is being recruited by the likes of Maryland, Memphis, Arkansas State, Jacksonville State, Samford, UAB, Florida Atlantic and UT-Chattanooga.
• I got you: I got a call Sunday evening to remind me of a glaring omission in Sunday’s paper and I told the person who called me I’d do right by them.
Amid the myriad of Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs who became state champions on the final day of the Class 4A state track meet. I forgot to mention Anniston’s boys’ 400-meter relay squad.
Vashad Wilson, the state 100-meter dash champion, and Andre Patton, the state 200-meter dash champion, combined with DaMonta Miller and Fred Jordan to take the crown with a blistering time of 43.2.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-2235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.