Lengthy leaper: Roomes wins Junior Olympics triple jump title
After Mason Roomes completed his monster jump he was approached by a few bystanders who bombarded him with questions about what he’d just accomplished.
“They were like, ‘How do you jump like that?’” Roomes said.
Roomes had just locked up the AAU Junior Olympics triple jump championship in the 17-and-18-year-old division at Drake University in Decorah, Iowa, in July with a mark of 45 feet, 9 inches.
Roomes said there were “way” too many people for his liking at the national event, but he was able to block all of them out during his jumps. Still, he didn’t know how to respond to their question -- he still doesn’t. Roomes doesn’t have any secrets to the triple jump, he’s still relatively new to the sport -- a natural talent who’s just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. So Roomes kept moving, making his way toward his family, his support system, to celebrate his accomplishment.
“I wasn’t nervous at all. I was just thinking ‘I’m going to get in first place,’” he said. “I had a dream of winning first place in triple jump, and it came true.”
Sandra Roomes wasn’t so sure about the idea of her son Mason competing in the triple jump.
Mason Roomes, a junior-to-be at Woodbury High School, was already an outstanding long jumper, and adding in the triple jump was bound to cause more physical wear.
“Because it takes a lot out of your legs, even more than long jump,” she said. “And he’s been successful in long jump.”
But Mason went along with his coaches’ decision to compete in the new event, and quickly found he had a knack for it.
He said it took just a couple of weeks to gain a grasp of his form in the event and said he did “decent” in his first meet. After the first meet, his coaches gave him a few minor tweaks to work on and he’s flown ever since.
For Mason’s brother Roshon, who primarily competes in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run, but also dabbles in the triple jump, Mason’s ability to quickly adapt to the sport was impressive.
“I thought I was going to be the triple jumper and he was going to be the long jumper,” Roshon said. “But then it shifted over to where he was the long jumper and then in the triple jump he passed me, too.”
Mason jumped past a lot of people in the state this year. In his first spring season in the triple jump, he leaped to fifth at the state meet with a mark of 43 feet, 11.5 inches.
Mason isn’t exactly a schlub in the long jump, either.
He went to the Junior Olympics in the event four years ago, and continues to excel in it.
He actually thought he might take first in the long jump at this year’s Junior Olympics, as well, but came up just short and finished in third with a jump of 21 feet, 8.5 inches -- a feat so impressive it could only be overshadowed by his championship performance in the triple jump. He placed sixth in the long jump at the state meet in June with a mark of 19 feet, 9 inches.
Roomes has a goal of possibly winning both the long jump and the triple jump at the state meet by the time his high school career at Woodbury is said and done, something he could feasibly accomplish next spring. He has the desired combination for a jumper -- long legs and speed. Roomes has also competed in the 100-meter 400-meter dashes, and still competes in the 200-meter dash.
He feels himself improving everyday. Though his summer season ended with the Junior Olympics, he’s still working on getting faster and stronger. Roomes stays in shape with jogs and bike rides to the lake, and lifts with his friends and Roshon. The least favorite of his lifts might be the most beneficial for him as he looks to improve his distance -- squatting.
“Lots and lots of pain,” he said of the leg lift, “but it helps you.”
For Roomes, the pain is worth the gain. He said he can see himself getting stronger, which helps with his speed. That speed improves his distance on each jump. Lift by lift, inch by inch, he’s working to be better in both of his primary events.
Mason couldn’t choose when asked which jumping event he preferred.
He truly enjoys both -- he simply loves to jump.
“I want to do high jump, but (my coaches} are not letting me,” Roomes said. “They only want me to do long and triple, because I’m good at that. They don’t want to teach me another thing.”
Roomes’ track record suggests anything that involves launching himself into the air wouldn’t take too long to master.