The Jumpmen


Mina Willander ('23)

Three of RMHS boys track senior jumpers.

Noah Young ('23), Orbit Contributor

Sprinters dash around the track, pounding the ground with each step. Throwers huck large metal balls as far as they can, the shots kicking up dust on impact. But in the infield, yet another group of athletes gracefully jump over a bar, while others sprint and jump into a large sandpit. These athletes are the jumpers.

The RMHS jumping squad is a two-part group, composed of high jumpers and long jumpers. Each member of the jumpers group contributes to the team, whether it’s showing younger athletes the ropes, or engaging in friendly competition to push each other to do their best. The grades within this group range from freshmen to seniors, but the trio that leads the charge is Tyler Lloyd, Sachin Patel, and Thomas Gallegos – the veterans of the RMHS Track jumping team. Otherwise known as the “Jumpmen”. 

Meet the Vets

Tyler (“The Mullet King”) Lloyd joined the RMHS track team his sophomore year after his mom convinced him to try high jumping, claiming that he had “hops”. In practice Tyler was not experienced. “I didn’t even know what spikes were,” he said. “I was borrowing former captain, Tyler Lindmark’s running spikes.” This led him to only jump 5’6’’ in his first meet, motivating him to push even harder in training. Tyler has made a lot of progress in his years at RMHS. He is now a team captain and the unofficial jump captain, with a personal best of jumping 6 ‘3’’, placing second at the division two indoor state meet, placing first in the high jump outdoor state relays, and becoming an All-Conference All-Star. Tyler hopes to pursue his track goals in college, and he also has pretty cool hair. 

Sachin (“The Guy Who Got Injured in 2022 But Bounced Back (Literally)”) Patel – joined the team as a freshman, eager to try out all the events. Little did he know that he would become one of the impactful athletes on the team and within the Middlesex League. Coach Price recognized his talent and placed him among the varsity jumpers. Senior Captain Jeff Pan and junior Joe Faulkner helped him progress his jumping technique; where he would eventually high jump 5 ‘6’’ against Belmont in his first varsity start. This was only the beginning of Sachin’s high jump career as he jumped 6 ‘0’’ as a sophomore placing first in the high jump in the Middlesex League Championship. That same year he became a Middlesex League All-Star. At the All-State meet he jumped a height of 6’2”. Unfortunately, Sachin suffered a torn patella tendon in his junior year, halting his high jump progress. However, this did not stop him from bouncing back his senior year and becoming skilled in the long jump (pr 20’2”) and many running events. He also runs the @rmhsboystrack Instagram account – drop a follow, he’ll probably follow you back.

Thomas (“Tommy G, Earthworm Jim, Rizz Goblin”) Gallegos joined the track team as a freshman. Coach Price had all the freshmen try out all the events to get a feel for everything before deciding what they wanted to do. But Thomas said, “I tried high jumping, and I had a friend who did it, it was a fun atmosphere and all the upperclassmen were super friendly.” At first, Thomas had a slow start jumping 4 ’10’’ for all of his freshman year, and he took a break sophomore year to run mid-distance events. Thomas quickly found his footing in his later years when he set a new pr of 5′ 6’’ in junior year. Thomas also tried out the long jump, he said “I liked it more than high jumping because I was more of a natural at it.” He started in junior year, jumping 18 ‘8″ in the indoor season, and setting a huge personal record outdoors of 20’ 4” in State Relays. Thomas is always striving to top his jumps and is looking forward to the rest of his senior season. 

Practicing Like a Jumper

The RMHS track team is a very large group, sometimes Coach Price does not have time to get around to everyone. This means that the jumping veterans typically step up and run their own practices. Each practice is meant to progress an athlete’s ability, however not every jumping practice is the same. Sachin explained the different kinds of practices the jumpers do. “We usually warm up with the sprinters, but then we split off and do more dynamic stretches, but after we look at the schedule, whether it’s a sprinting, or jumping day.”

The practices vary.  They do not always circulate around jumping the highest or farthest they can. “A jumping day will consist of drills tuned for specific events. For high jump, there are drills about the approach towards the bar, arching over the bar, and explosiveness, lots of team members giving feedback on the jump, then we will stretch. To train effectively you have to practice the technical side but you also have to train the explosiveness.” Repetition is key in every sport to progress. Tyler described the importance of the drills that they practice. “Circle runs, three stepping, and running out and setting your mark will all help the athlete get better. They are fundamental to being able to clear the bar. If you approach it wrong, you probably will not jump as well.” 

Meet Environment

When it comes to meets, the jumping events take place in the center of the track. Teams and supporters line the stands cheering on their team. The jump team only faces five opponents in the Middlesex Liberty Division, but the competition is fierce. Tyler expanded on this “Rowan McConkey is a high jumper from Arlington, he and I have gone at it since sophomore year, and Lucas Kehoe From Wakefield jumped 6’8 so I’ll have to deal with that’’. However, the competition for many of the athletes is their teammates. Sachin addressed this. “Tyler pushes me the most, we were neck and neck always combating each other, we did not want to be the athlete that was left behind.”

Each of the members has their own approach to their event. Tyler said, “A lot goes through my mind, it’s different from one race, every jump counts. I am always approaching the competition with my all.”  He also loves to listen to 80s music on his retro headphones and cassette tape to “get him into the groove”. In the end, Thomas spoke on how he views the athletes he goes up against. “It is all competition, but nobody wants to see each other do bad, everyone is always rooting for one another to do their best which makes track a very positive experience.”

Advice and Goals

With this being the trios last year as RMHS athletes, each meet counts. Thus, they have all set goals that they want to accomplish before the end of their high school track seasons. All of them want to see results. Tyler said, “I want to run some events on top of jumping, jump 6 ‘5’’, consistently jump 6 ‘3’’, and inspire people.” Sachin said, “I hope to find success in the long jump, the high jump vision has kind of faded after blowing out my patella, however, I also want to do well in mid and short sprints.” Thomas wants to “hopefully set new personal records in the high jump of 5 ‘8’’ and long jump 21.”  

Even as these athletes wrap up their final seasons with the RMHS Track program, they still want it to continue to grow. They provided their best advice to the future athletes that will carry the program when they leave. Sachin stated, “Find what you want to do, track is versatile, and find an event that you enjoy.” Thomas said, “You have to listen to coach and take his advice, but also practice on your own, maybe film yourself to see what you do well on and what you can get better at.” Tyler said, “Some advice I would give to the younger guys or future athletes–track is not a joke of a sport. If you take it seriously you can go really far. I never thought I would do track in college but here I am, captain of the track team. Crazy.”