Katz ’19 wins long jump at Ivy League Heptagonal Champs

Junior’s performances in long jump, triple jump power men’s track and field team to third place

Contributing Writer
Friday, March 2, 2018

Jason Katz ’19 earned the second best mark in Brown history for long jump with a personal record of 24-08.50 at the Heptagonal Championships.

Jason Katz ’19 only needed one attempt to win the long jump at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships. Going into the event, Katz was the top seed, and on his first effort, he set the mark that his competitors would chase for the rest of the competition. But he wasn’t satisfied with merely besting the rest of the league with one leap. On his final long jump attempt, Katz said he “popped off about four or five inches farther” than his first jump,  he said, securing a personal record of 24-08.50 and solidifying a spot in program history as the second best mark at Brown.

Katz wrapped up his performance at the championships with a run for the triple jump title, facing off against an athlete from Dartmouth after the event came down to a tiebreaker. Katz notched a 15.57 jump on his final attempt to match the first-place mark but fell short of overtaking his competitor when the two jumped once more to decide the winner. Still, his 51-01.00 was a career-long for the indoor triple jump and the third best all-time at Brown.

For his achievements at the Ivy League Indoor Track and Field Championships, Katz was recognized as Field Performer of the Meet, received Brown University Athletics Student-Athlete of the Week honors and has been selected as The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: Congratulations on an amazing performance at Ivies! How did your teammates and coaches react to the win and the tiebreaker?

Katz: I think most of my teammates thought I had won with that jump because (the Dartmouth athlete) was the first jumper in preliminaries, and after he jumped (15.57) on his first jump, I don’t think they put that up on the board. So none of the people knew that he had jumped that exact same number. They thought I had won; although I kind of knew. … They were really happy. They would have been really happy either way though. They were screaming and everything in the crowd. Coach (Ken Hunt) was pretty happy.

How did Heps affect the team’s mentality going into the remainder of the season?

It’s definitely a confidence boost for a lot of the men, seeing what we can do and what more there is to gain. Especially for the freshmen who have never competed — definitely some experience that they’ll be able to draw on for competing at the next Heps afterwards.

How did you first get into track and field?

I started freshman year of high school. I had always been that fast kid. I played all the sports as a kid — soccer, basketball, baseball. So I was always fast. In the springtime, since soccer is a fall sport and basketball is a winter sport, I needed something to do. I actually didn’t want to do track, but my parents convinced me to. I just fell in love with it at the beginning of freshman year.

Between the triple jump and long jump, which event is your favorite?

Triple jump is definitely my favorite. It’s the one I’m better at. Actually, I only really started doing the long jump at the end of last year. In high school, I was okay at long jump (but) nothing special. Freshman year, although I just wanted to do triple jump, Coach made me do long jump. … I didn’t long jump again until the end of sophomore year at the end of outdoor season when I jumped a two-foot PR. … Pretty recently, I’ve started to enjoy long jump a little more not only because I’m excelling in it, but because it is kind of fun when you actually figure out how to jump. But triple jump is still a lot closer to my heart.

What is your pre-meet routine?

I don’t do anything crazy superstitious or whatnot. I always do the same specific stuff for the warm-up. I guess what most people would say I am known for is how I compete. I’m always the one with my hood up, listening to my music, 100 percent in the zone. Everyone knows that you can’t even get a word with me when I’m in the zone. Especially how I always make very serious, interesting faces when I’m kinda doing that. I’d say my favorite pump-up song is “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters.

What’s been the highlight of your athletic career at Brown?

If I had to go with a specific moment, it was last year (when) we went down to Rider (University) for a meet outdoors. At the time, there was me and another triple jumper, … Taylor Alarcon, … and throughout the whole year we had been competing, going back and forth. Freshman year I was never able to catch him. Then last year, he got injured in one of our first meets, and I was building up while he was injured. At that meet, we had both been jumping pretty well. We were going back and forth. … He finally hit (50 feet) for the first time at that meet, and then I had some good jumps. … We kind of chirped back and forth at each other like “What are you going to do next?” On my last jump, I popped off a two-foot PR, and I just really hit it solid. … All the crowd was into it. All the jumpers were into it. That was probably my favorite moment.

What are your goals for the rest of the season? The team’s goals?

I never want to put a number on things, but I’d say stay healthy, stay competitive. Do what I need to do and jump farther. Win the meets I need to win and make it far into the season in terms of NCAAs. Team goals are definitely to improve. … We left some points out there, but I think overall we did pretty well at indoors. We have to repeat and try to improve outdoors.