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Submitted story by Daniel Hunt
When the NYS indoor track championships kick off this weekend at Ocean Breeze, Jarron Nesmith, the public schools 5th ranked 300 meter sprinter will have traveled a long way to get there. It's not that his home town of Churchville just outside of Rochester NY is so far, it's has more to do with the fact that less than two years ago Jaron ended the 2017 indoor season as the 783rd ranked 300 meter sprinter in the state!!!
Like most successful track athletes, Jaron began running track in modified but what makes his story unique is that he didn't experience much success early on and actually displayed moderate talent at best. Jaron's story is one of perseverance and work ethic, because by all accounts he certainly didn't walk in and take the sport by storm.
Through his modified and freshman years Jaron would win some heats here and there but having hoped to be more successful, he decide to also try the triple and long jump. After a few months of jumping he once again found only moderate success, often struggling with the technical aspects of the events. Then during Jaron's sophomore year, a new sprint coach joined the Churchville Chili coaching staff. Theo Louison, a former national level sprinter from the Island of Trinidad and Tobago noticed Jaron's commitment and plyometric qualities and decided to introduce him to strength coach Paul Dick and encourage him to do some extra work with Jaron. "To be honest I didn't see what coach Theo saw in him," recalls coach Dick. "As a sophomore he was just a quiet, thin, relatively weak kid with average speed. However, I had tremendous respect for Theo's coaching knowledge so I agreed."
THINGS DIDN'T CHANGE OVER NIGHT
"I laugh about it today." coach said Dick smiling." When I would show up at the weight room to work with him he would try to avoid me." "Early on lifting was certainly a weak spot for him but looking back, that eventually led me to believe Theo might be on to something, if he could improve his strength and rate of force development he certainly would improve his times, I just didn't see the end product that Theo was seeing." Under Louison'swatchful eye Jaron slowly began making improvement, "the first thing that needed to change was his running mechanics," said Theo. "After that it was his mentality about racing." During that first year Jaron made steady improvement, dropping his personal best in the 300 meters by a total of 1.76 seconds from 40.92 down to a 39.16. With that being said the MileSplit rankings don't lie. Although he had made good improvement, Jaron ended the 2017 indoor season ranked # 783 in the state. (See MileSplit archives)
Motivated by his success, Jaron began working a little harder and actually started enjoying the lifting. According to Jaron "It wasn't my favorite thing to do but when you see how it can help you improve I kinda looked forward to it". Under the watchful eye of coach Theo, the lifting and technical work began to make a difference as Jaron continued to improve through the spring of his sophomore year. The following winter as a junior Jaron jump started his indoor season in the very first meet by running a solid 37.73, smashing his personal best by 1.43 seconds! At this point his strength coach started getting excited so he decided to check Nesmith's ranking on the sectional leader board. What he found was that while Jaron had made a big leap into the top 20 of the section, he still had quite a way to go before he could be considered a true threat as a sprinter as his time placed him more than three tenths of a second behind a XC athlete from nearby Webster Thomas high school.
As the season progressed Jaron continued to make incremental progress seemingly improving every meet. By the end of January he had shaved an additional 1.70 seconds off his time marking a tremendous 3.13 second improvement for the season. As the state qualifiers rolled in Jaron was now listed third in the section and he continued to ride his wave of success by qualifying for his first ever state championship meet. A 12+hour bus ride through last year's snow storm to Ocean Breeze made for less than Ideal conditions but Jaron finished the indoor season with a new sense of confidence in what coach Theo had seen in him.
The long range plan for the following months outdoor season was to have Jaron train through the early part of the year and not worry about dual meet times, "The focus was solely on getting more powerful and improving his technical and mental readiness," said Theo. As championship season approached Jaron had reached top shape but no one could have foreseen what would come next. In the span of four weeks Jaron broke and re-broke Churchville Chili's long standing school records in both the 100 and 200 meter's a total of three times each. Full of confidence, Jaron easily won his state qualifier and went on to an impressive 4th place finish in the 200 meters at the public school state finals. Jaron finished his junior year with personal bests of 10.94 and 21.80.
"At that point the light kind of went on for all of us, the way his body was responding to all the training was amazing," coach Dick recalls. In preparation for his senior year and under the direction of head coach Dennis Pynn, a summer and fall training plan was developed and for the first time in his career, Jaron would commit himself to a rigorous strength and running program over the summer and fall months. Jaron was no longer avoiding the weight room and by the end of the fall his strength levels were actually quite impressive, despite being relatively thin at 5'10" 150 lbs. he was able to squat, deadlift and hip thrust over three times his body weight!
THE RECORDS CONTINUE TO FALL
During this year's 2018-19 indoor season, Jaron has once again broken and re-broken his own school records in both the 55 and 300 a total of three times each, shaving an impressive .33 off his 55 and an equally impressive 1.05 seconds off his 300, ending with a new personal best of 34.98 (that's 4.18 seconds in just under two years). When asked about his plans for the rest of the year Jaron said "I would love to run my best time at Ocean Breeze and let the chips fall where they may". "After that I am looking forward to getting back in the weight room with coach Dick and on the track with coach Theo, the 200 is my best event so I can't wait for outdoor". Jaron and Coach Dick also wanted to thank coach Pynn for his efforts in changing the track culture at Churchville. "At one time we didn't win a track meet for almost ten years" recalls Jaron. "Now we send people to the state meet on a regular basis and there's a lot of pride in our program again.
No matter what the outcome is this weekend, Jaron Nesmith is a great story and an inspiration to any young athlete who aspires to be successful.