CANTON – High jumper Peter Fuller doesn’t get many opportunities during the indoor track and field season to practice jumping over the bar.
There is no indoor facility in Canton with a high jump bar and mat. If there is snow on the ground like there is this year, the equipment stays inside.
So, the junior from Canton takes advantage of every opportunity he can to jump during competitions.
He got plenty of chances to jump at last weekend’s New England championships at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston on Saturday. It wasn’t because Fuller was missing jumps. He was clearing the bar and working his way through the field.
Fuller turned in the best performance ever by a Canton athlete at the New England indoor track and field championships by finishing second in the high jump with a school-record leap of 6-foot-7.
Canton junior Chelsea Mitchell had a top 10 finish in the 55 meters, finishing eighth with a time of 7.30 seconds. Avon’s Rhiannon Richmond ran in the two mile race and finished 11th with a school record time of 11:13.44.
Fuller earned All-New England honors with his second place finish, which came two weeks after taking fourth in the State Open with a leap of 6-foot-2. In February, he was third in Class S with a jump of 6-2.
“He had great height and responded very well to the opening height of 6-foot-1 which sometimes decimates the field,” Canton High coach Tim O’Donnell said. “He cleared 6-1, 6-3 and 6-5 on his first jump. He cleared 6-7 on his second (jump). His second attempt at 6-9 was remarkably close. He beat an awful lot of very talented high jumpers there.”
Staples’ Chet Lewis won the New England championship with a leap of 6-9. He also leaped 6-9 at the State Open.
“It was great,” Fuller said. “I wasn’t expecting to finish so high.
“For one thing, there were a lot more people there especially due to the size of the stadium, which was awesome. It was hot but it was nice,” Fuller said. “The surface was different and I was able to get a little more grip (off the floor). I liked the grip. I think it helped.”
How does one prepare for high jumping if you can’t high jump?
Fuller certainly keeps busy during meets running a variety of events such as the 4×200 relay, the sprint medley relay, the 55 hurdles and the 55 meter dash. Few Canton track and field athletes have the luxury of doing just one event.
Sometimes, he goes to the pool at Healthtrax in Avon for some water resistance exercises or he could be in the weight room in the high school doing squats. If there is no snow, Fuller could practice his approach on the track.
Fuller, who broke his own school record of 6-6 set in February at the Hartford Public Invitational, will be getting some additional opportunities to practice his craft on Friday when he competes in the high jump in the Emerging Elite class at the New Balance National Indoors meet in New York City at the Armory.
Mitchell finished eighth in the 55 meters with a time of 7.32 seconds – the best finish for a Canton girl at the New England championships. Mitchell ran a time of 7.30 in qualifying to earn the eighth and final spot in the finals.
Bloomfield’s Terry Miller won the New England title with a time of 6.94 seconds, beating Springfield Central’s Kyra Hill (7.04) and Cromwell’s Andraya Yearwood (7.17).
“It was her second best series – when you combined her trials and finals time – of her career,” O’Donnell said of Mitchell’s performance in the 55 meters. “7.32 seconds was fast enough to be All-New England in nine of the previous 10 years – just not this year. It was a real close cluster of athletes from fourth to eight place.
Abigail Gerdes of Natick was fourth in 7.23 seconds – just 0.09 of a second ahead of Mitchell. Caroline Schissel of Amesbury, Mass., was fifth in 7.261 seconds with Conard’s Kate Shaffer sixth in 7.269 seconds. Madison Marsh of Shepard Hills, Mass., just nipped Mitchell with a time of 7.31 seconds.
Mitchell, who won the State Open title in the long jump with a leap of 18-5½ feet, finished 12th with a jump of 17-6¼.
“While she has been consistent with her approach most of the season, the different venue just seemed to throw her off a little and she was consistently jumping well behind her mark,” O’Donnell said. “Her last jump was by far her best (17-6¼). It was a distance that is usually good enough for top 6 (in New England) and to advance to the final – but not this year.”
Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe won the long jump, leaping a foot farther (19-1½) than she did at the State Open, where she was second behind Mitchell.
Mitchell will also be competing at the New Balance Indoor Nationals on Saturday when she competes in the long jump.
The previous best performance by a Canton girl at the New England championships came from Julia Caputo, who was the first Warrior girl to compete here with a 22nd place finish in the two mile. The previous best performance by a Canton boy came from Brian Magna, who was ninth in the 1,000 meters in 2009.
Avon’s Jack Martin is also scheduled to compete in the New Balance Indoor Nationals in the freshman one-mile run on Sunday.