When Joziah Bradford stepped out onto the triple-jump runway at Kimball High School in Tracy on March 16, he said he was hyped.
His intention was to beat his personal record by a few inches, he said.
He ended up breaking a 25-year Sonora High School record.
Bradford paced, stretched and asked his coaches if he could get on with his jump immediately. It was the first jump of the day, and he said he felt as if something big was going to happen. He darted on a sprint, hopped, skipped, jumped, then landed in the sandpit.
After he smashed the 25-year Sonora High School triple-jump record, flying 45 feet, he started screaming ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!”
“I was smiling. I couldn’t stop smiling,” said Bradford, 17, a Sonora High School junior.
Sonora High track head coach Frank Garcia called Bradford an exceptional athlete. Bradford’s jump-and-sprints coach Jeremy MacDonald added that Bradford’s intention was never to beat the school record, but only progress himself as a jumper.
“I think it’s fantastic that he can break any record, especially with a school this old,” MacDonald said. “Beating your own record is great, let alone someone else's.”
The previous record, held by Bill Wood, was for 44 feet and 7.5 inches (13.60 m.) in 1994.
When Bradford jumps, he said he has “tunnel vision.” He listens to the voices in his head — from his coaches and his parents — telling him to clear his mind, focus, and be himself.
At the Jaguar Invitational at Kimball High School, Bradford beat the record on his first jump, and even on his second, where he jumped 44 feet and 8 inches (13.61 m.).
“That’s the great thing about track and field, every record is your own record,” MacDonald said. “Everybody competes with themselves.”
The triple jump, Bradford said, is a bounding step, mixed with a run, that propels the jumper into flight before landing in a sand pit. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the triple jump is a track and field event where the athlete runs, hops off one foot, lands on the same foot, then makes a jump off of the opposite foot.
The event requires athletes take long, extended strides, and jumpers often leap and dive bomb the sandpit to earn an optimal score.
According to the IAAF, the male triple jump world record is held by British athlete Jonathan Edwards, who jumped 60 feet (18.29 m) during the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg.
“It takes a lot of balance and strength,” MacDonald said. “It’s probably the hardest event in track on an athlete’s body.”
MacDonald said the track team often waits for students to be upperclassmen before they start triple-jumping because of the impact.
Bradford didn’t begin triple-jumping until the end of his sophomore season.
“I never really knew what triple jump is,” he said.
Bradford also participates in the triple jump, the long jump, the 400 meter and the 4x400 meter relay.
As the season progresses, Bradfod said he wants to continue to have fun and build on his previous success.
“I’ve got to keep that same mentality as if I haven’t got the record,” he said. “I’ve got to beat my own record now.”
Progressing into the Masters and Divisional Championships was a possibility, he said, but only if he continued to listen to his parents and coaches for their advice.
“I’ve never wanted to get too ahead of myself,” he said. “I’m just kind of going with the flow. However far I get, that’s how it is.”
The spring track and field season is just now kicking into gear for student-athletes.
Next Saturday Sonora High School will participate in the prestigious Stanford Track and Field Invitational on Mar. 30 and 31 with Audrey Simmons in the high jump and Dalton Tarter in the 400m. Bradford will not be competing at the meet, Garcia said in an email.
On April 4, Sonora will take on Calaveras High School and Summerville High School at Calaveras. They will take on Bret Harte and Amador at home on April 10 and Argonaut on April 18.
Mother Lode League Trials and Finals will take place on April 30 and May 2 at Bret Harte High School.