Dalen Beck has already made the necessary jump. The Daleville senior has already made the long jump he knows could get him to the state finals, it’s just a matter of making the right jump at the right moment.
He knows what it feels like to fly through the air for so long, hanging aloft in space as he hurtles ahead for the needed distance, a span that will let him travel to a new echelon of the IHSAA track and field tournament series. The Daleville senior has already made the long jump he knows could get him to the state finals, it’s just a matter of making the right jump at the right moment.
“It’s hard because when you get that first jump, you do it, and you just like think back about what it took to do that,” Beck said of his personal best 22-foot, 5-inch long jump this season. “Sometimes you aren’t sure if it just happened to be a good jump. You hit the board right. You just popped up right. It’s kind of hard, and then it’s also disappointing when you don’t get it because then you know you have the capability of doing it.”
Beck will open his pursuit of that jump at today’s Mount Vernon Sectional at 5:30 p.m. as the boys side of the state track tournament gets under way this afternoon. Beck, who competes in the long jump, high jump, 100-meter dash and the 200, is no stranger to the state tournament and has regularly found success in the sectional round where the top four competitors advance.
But his season-best jump could be crucial to reaching something more.
Beck made his 22-5 jump at a home meet in April, and the number he’s looking at now is 21-9¼. It’s is a mark that in regionals could automatically put him for the state finals, a place he’s never gone.
Beck made regionals in each of his first three seasons, only in high jump as a freshman and in both high and long jump each of the past two springs. Although he’s been an important sprinter for the Broncos alongside Jonathan Drown, Beck admitted he has always been more focused on jumping.
“I would consider myself fast,” said Beck, who will join Indiana Wesleyan’s team next season. “But I’m not the fastest kid.”
Beck didn’t even start his track career with the Broncos. He competed as a freshman at Eastbrook, playing football and basketball in addition to track. He moved in with his mother before his sophomore year, and she was the one who tipped off Daleville coach David Beard to his skills.
“The summer before his sophomore year, she said, ‘Hey I’m bringing my boy,’ and she would talk track with me and tell me how good he was,” Beard said, noting Beck’s fall sport changed to cross country as Daleville doesn’t offer football. “Usually a lot of parents say good things about their kids. … So when she said she was bringing him, I thought, ‘I’m going to check this out.’ So I went online and found that his marks were pretty legitimate.”
A season ago he posted a high jump of 5-10 and long jump of 21-0½ at the North Central Regional, good for 10th and 7th, respectively.
His final run means the end for a Broncos stalwart. In some meets, Beck was good for four first-place finishes, a good deal of points for a small team such as Daleville. In sectional he’ll be counted on for those points again, a role that goes along with his pursuit of individual advancement and one he’s more than comfortable with.
“Sometimes I feel like I need to like work as hard as I can to help everybody else out,” Beck said. “I also cheer for everyone else, and I always make sure that everyone else can also do their best. I’m always trying to help everyone else with (their) form if they’re really working on it.”