A Leap of Faith – Matthew Bealing
“My coach didn’t tell me he’d entered me in the long jump. He saw me jumping with a mate at practice and got me a late entry,” National Secondary Schools Track and Field senior long jump champion Matthew Bealing revealed after his leap of 6.84 meters saw him capture a surprise gold medal for St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in Tauranga on Saturday.
In close to oppressively hot conditions the fourth of six jumps was the decisive difference for Bealing in resisting challenges from second-placed Angus Lyver (Palmerston North Boys’ High School) and third-placed Quinn Hartley (James Hargest College).
“I had a no jump before so I decided to throw all my weight forward and see what happened. I kinda rolled into the sandpit which was embarrassing and the TV commentators were making fun of it. I’m not a great jumper technically but I’ve got a style that works for me,” he said.
Bealing nearly jumped beyond the pit a fortnight earlier training at the Mana club. This prompted a crash course in jumping from coach Alan Taylor. Previously Bealing had only managed two third place finishes in the McEvedy Shield long jump and only had one full training prior to Nationals.
“It was a case of I might as well have a go. A couple of the other guys had jumped seven meters before so they were a bit surprised by my jump,” Bealing admitted.
It wasn’t the only medal the new athletics captain of Silverstream won. He also brought home a silver medal running the third leg of the 4×100 meters relay.
“I entered the 200 but I didn’t do too well in that. It was close to the relay and I wanted to save my best for that,” he conceded.
Other Silverstream athletes at their best included Josh Jordan and Max Poland who were first and second in the Junior Boys 4km road race and Oliver Krijnen who won a silver medal in the Senior Boys 100m despite being two years younger than most competitors.
Silverstream has won 34 gold medals at the National secondary schools championships. Their most decorated athlete is former Wellington rugby great and English international Thomas Waldrom who won four gold medals in discus and shot put. The last Silverstream athlete to win the senior long jump title before Bealing was Steven Monks in 1987. Frank Cole was also victorious in 1982.
-Story courtesy of College Sport Media