Home Sports Jabez Thomas: The Chill Guy Dominating the Triple Jump

Jabez Thomas: The Chill Guy Dominating the Triple Jump

by Gabriella Larosa

Montclair State University’s own Jabez Thomas is making a name for himself and soaring to new heights as a dominating triple jumper.

Not only did Thomas take home the win in the triple jump event at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Indoor Championships, but he set a personal record with a distance of 14.43m. This incredibly impressive distance pushed Thomas to a rank of 13th in the nation, a massive accomplishment.

“[What] I think, and it’s crazy to think, is that, you know, he doesn’t even know how good he can be,” men’s track and field head coach Ian Carter said.

Considering Thomas joined the track and field program late last year, it is remarkable and almost scary, how he is already performing at such a high level.

Thomas grew up playing soccer and was on the men’s team here at Montclair State during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He competed in track and field for two years at Kinnelon High School and was looking to get back into the sport last season to test his ability. Safe to say, Thomas has exceeded any expectations he, or anyone else could have set for himself, including his coach.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, but very quickly I realized that he had a bubbly personality and he kind of fit in with the team culture that we already had,” Carter said. “But he had this drive that I saw that he wanted to be great.”

Thomas’ determination is what Carter attributes to Thomas’ success as a two-time NJAC champion. Thomas has proven to be more than just a gifted athlete.

To win consistently, like Thomas has done, requires passion, commitment and determination. While the triple jump may seem deceivingly simple, starting with a hop, followed by a step and finishing with a huge propelling jump forward, it demands impeccable technique, strength, agility and coordination, all in a matter of seconds.

“I love how underrated it is,” Thomas said in regards to the triple jump. “People don’t realize how hard it is until they try it. In college, I realized it’s where you put in the hard work.”

The team trains weekly at indoor jump facilities, where Thomas works on maintaining his phases, speed and form.

Bryce Foster, a sophomore on the track team who has a close friendship with Thomas, talked about what it is like to train alongside the indoor NJAC triple jump champion.

“It’s cool. We just push each other, and that’s really all that matters,” Foster said. “We want to see the best from each other. It’s definitely competitive, and I like it, it makes me better as an athlete.”

Danny Deronde | The Montclarion

Jabez Thomas during the triple jump at Ocean Breeze Track & Field Center. Danny Deronde | The Montclarion

While Thomas has delivered outstanding results at an almost unnatural speed, he has still faced many challenges. Just recently, Thomas was suffering a mental battle after starting off with some bad jumps.

“The biggest thing for him is just fighting himself,” Carter said. “But that’s what I’m here for, to kind of keep him locked in and push him forward.”

Thomas described the moment going into his last jump and how he was able to clinch the win despite his rocky start and mental struggle.

“Before my winning jump, a competitor from Farmingdale hit a PR and maintained his first-place spot while I was still in third,” Thomas said. “Going into my last jump, I just had to relax, focus on what I know I can do in triple jump because I had a bad start. On my way to my third jump, I relaxed, composed myself, thought about coach Carter’s instructions and revised them in my head. As I jumped, I could tell I went far, but the real feeling of how good it was came after I finished the jump.”

Carter’s belief in Thomas seems to be an integral part of his success.

“One thing about him is when everything is on the line, he shows up and shows his best,” Carter said.

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This speaks to Thomas’ character, showcasing the fact that he does not crack under pressure. Instead, Thomas puts his trust in Carter to pinpoint and communicate exactly what he needs to do to get the best result. Their close relationship mimics one of family.

Their relationship is so strong that Carter even called out Thomas’ miscues with his winning jump, in a friendly way of course.

“I saw so many things wrong with the jump and he still jumped a ridiculous distance,” Carter said.

Whenever there is this special of a bond between a player and a coach, usually great accomplishments follow and they are well on their way.

Men's track and field head coach Ian Carter and Jabez Thomas at the NJAC podium. Danny Deronde | The Montclarion

Men's track and field head coach Ian Carter and Jabez Thomas at the NJAC podium. Danny Deronde | The Montclarion

“[Thomas] is an excellent person,” Carter said. “It’s amazing, me and him have a really special connection. I think our whole team does. We have a really good bond, and it’s just bigger than track and field. Everybody on the team loves him. I love him, but I don’t think this is the last stop for him.”

So, what’s next for Thomas you might ask?

“I’m looking forward to competing at regionals, hopefully winning and then coming back and winning the Division III national title.”

The dominate NJAC champion also insists that despite the accolades he is, “just a pretty chill guy.” We will surely be seeing more of Thomas, out jumping the competition soon.

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