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Nipmuc athlete Kevin Hack shows off his high jump style. The sophomore who holds the school's record in high jump is the only sophomore to qualify for the New England Regional Winter Track Meet and is first Warrior ever to win an individual state championship in track and field. Contributed photo


Hack Rises to State Title in High Jump


Just a year ago, Kevin Hack had never tried high jumping and probably couldn't tell you much about the Fosbury Flop. He had just finished his freshman year in the Nipmuc basketball program and decided to go out for Spring track. A year later, he holds the school record in the high jump, was the only sophomore to qualify for the New England regional Winter track meet and became the first athlete in school history to win an individual state championship in track and field.
And he's only a sophomore.
"He is quite amazing," said Nipmuc boys track coach Richard Auger. "I am glad to see the level of success he has had because he works very hard at it. He loves the high jump and is very intent on being the best he can be."
Hack cleared 6'4" to win the state championship at the All-State meet on February 22 at the Reggie Lewis Center. He followed that up with a 6'5" jump in the regional meet as the first Nipmuc athlete to qualify for New England's in the program's history. That mark was good enough for sixth among the 38 high jumpers in the event. His personal best is 6'6", and he will jump as one of only two sophomores at the Emerging Elite National Track & Field meet next weekend.
Some might call him a natural, but it has also taken a lot of hard work to get him to this point in a year. "It was really hard to learn at first," he said. "I had to learn to arch in the air which took a lot of practice since I am not very flexible. After awhile, it started to come more naturally."
The 6'1" Hack jumped as high as 5'10" in his freshman year during the outdoor season and added eight inches to his personal best this winter. "That type of growth is not typical, I have had jumpers get to around six feet and stay there all four years," said Auger. "His determination and effort have made him what he is right now."
Hack is perpetual motion throughout the year. He plays soccer in the summer and fall before competing in track through the winter and spring. He has a running regiment that has him covering some 15-20 miles a week and will be heading to two high jump camps this summer. Dick Fosbury, the inventor of the "back-first" high jump technique now known as the Fosbury Flop, runs one of the camps. "I work on my technique a lot," said Hack. "When I'm not doing that, I do squats or calf raises, really anything to work on getting stronger.
He added, "I was really happy with the way this year went, every time I was getting a new PR (personal record) I was shocking myself."
Hack said he wants to add at least two inches to his personal best each year. Four more inches would put him at 6'10", a mark Auger says is typically what Division 1 track and field programs will seek out in prospective jumpers. "I think he could maybe get to seven feet," said Auger. "It all depends on his development, time will tell. But he is on the right track and doing the things he needs to do to get to that level."
"I would love to perform at the college level, either D1 or D2," said Hack. "I'll have to see where things go after next year. I could get better or worse, but I am going to be working hard to improve."
With his talent and drive, cliché though it may be, the sky could very well be the limit.




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