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Boys Track and Field: Sandwich's Jayden Green keeping busy, will 'shoot for the stars' if season resumes

Indians' junior, second in state triple jump last year, aiming to be two-time state champion

May 24, 2019 - Charleston, IL - Sandwich's Jayden McCulskie-Green floats down the runway in the Class 2A Triple Jump prelims race at the Illinois High School Association's State track & field meet on Friday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
May 24, 2019 - Charleston, IL - Sandwich's Jayden McCulskie-Green floats down the runway in the Class 2A Triple Jump prelims race at the Illinois High School Association's State track & field meet on Friday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Jayden Green's priorities these days, and outside circumstances, have prevented optimal track and field practice.

Green, a Sandwich junior, watches his 12-year-old sister while school is out during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He has a unique perspective of the crisis that is putting activities like track on hold, with two parents in the medical field. His mom is a narcotics auditor at a hospital and his dad a firefighter paramedic. At times his dad is stuck at work for 48 hours or longer.

"He's been working a lot lately," Green said.

Green's made the most of a season on hold. While he's only been out a handful of times to run and his gym is closed, he has bands and stability balls at home, and does 2-3 workouts a day with plyometrics and speed.

"I'm very bored, but I have to be active," Green said. "I know other kids are probably sitting in their homes playing video games, or doing nothing. If the IHSA starts meets in like the first week of May, we might have a total of four meets. They're not going to be ready, but I am."

He's indeed motivated to do great things.

Green took second place in the Class 2A triple jump last spring, and seventh in the long jump.

He picked up right where he left off in an abbreviated indoor season, going 45 feet in the triple jump and 21 feet, 10 inches in the long jump, putting him top two in the state in both.

"I'm at the point, last year runner-up at state, now I want to win and I need to win," Green said. "That's how my mindset is. I want to be a two-time state champion. I'm very ready for outdoor season if we have it."

Green, who has taken unofficial visits to Illinois State, Illinois, Indiana, Loyola and Marquette, among others, is jumping the exact same distances or farther this year with shorter approaches. He'd love to hit 50 feet in the triple jump this year, although with a shortened season 48 or so could be more realistic. He thinks he can surpass 23 feet in the long jump and 6-5 or 6-6 in the high jump.

"I'd rather shoot for the stars than not shoot at all," Green said.

"He's a great kid, very confident," Sandwich coach Bolagi Adeoti said. "The thing I like about him is he he doesn't just talk. He backs it up with a lot of work."

Sandwich is still putting in the work, even with its season delayed indefinitely. Adeoti, who said he thinks this could be Sandwich's best all-around team in a long time, puts workouts on its website for athletes to do on their own, and then report back.

Every day this week, guys did workouts wearing a different color to motivate them. On Wednesday, they were told to wear their full uniform for workouts.

"Something fun to keep them going," Adeoti said. "I know it's a tough time. It's not easy for me and I'm sure it's not easy for them."

The Indians looked forward to dominating this year with a talented group back. Besides Green, returning state qualifier Sead Sejdiu started indoor season by throwing the shot put a lifetime best 49-7, and was ranked eighth for the Illinois Prep Top Times meet.

Junior sprinter Michael Marrs, who missed state last year in the 100 by a hundredth of a second, had a strong indoor season with a 7.13 60 and 23.61 200. Junior Steve Aguilar ran a 2:06 800 indoors and junior Ian Kelson went 20-1 in the long jump straight out of basketball.

"We were definitely looking forward to this season with all the talent we had," Adeoti said. "We only lost one guy, just a bunch of guys who have grown into their events. I saw a special group. Some of them have really dedicated themselves in the offseason and you can see the payoff already."

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