It wasn’t how Donovan Grant dreamed of starting his senior track and field season.
The Mountain View standout contracted walking pneumonia after the basketball season. Grant missed two weeks of the track season, putting him behind the curve.
“I had to work a lot harder on getting in shape,” Grant said.
It didn’t take Grant long to make an impact when he did return.
The defending Class 5A Division II state champion in the long jump finished first in the event at the Willie Williams Invitational on March 21 with a winning jump of 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches.
“I was surprised at that because I was really sore,” Grant said.
“I was lifting and running a lot. That’s when I really got back in shape. I was surprised by my jumping ability.”
His winning leap at the 2008 state championship was 23 feet, 6 1/2 inches. After his initial success this season at the Williams Invitational for the longest jump of the season so far at the 5A-II level, Grant plateaued a bit.
“After that I have been going mostly 22s,” Grant said. “Hopefully, I can take a break and get me back up. I’ve basically been jumping on tired legs.”
Grant hasn’t slacked off in his preparation for the regional meet.
Wednesday, he won the long jump (22-4) and triple jump (43-9) for the Mountain Lions in a triangular meet with Ironwood Ridge and Rincon/University at Mountain View.
Ironwood Ridge’s boys team defeated Rincon (84-69) and Mountain View (57).
Mountain View and Rincon tied for first in the girls competition with 67 points. Ironwood Ridge finished third with 48 points.
Grant also placed fourth in the high jump (5-8).
“My legs are tired,” Grant said. “We were lifting hard this weekend, and I still had to compete on tired legs. You can’t win them all. It’s hard to jump on tired legs.”
Grant is still learning the ins and outs about track in just his third year competing in the sport.
“I am really not that strong,” he said. “I mostly work on my jumping ability. I think I have a lot” to learn.
There are others who believe Grant has a future in track. Arizona extended him a partial scholarship offer, but he has chosen the full scholarship offer from Central Arizona College instead.
“It wasn’t the right move for me,” Grant explained of not going to UA right out of high school. “I am not sure I am ready for a big university. I decided to go to Central because they focus on working hard and academics, and they offered me a full ride.”
Grant has set a long jump goal of 24-0 for the season.
“The 23-5 that I did at Willie Williams, my form wasn’t exactly right,” he said. “But five inches is only a little. I know I can go 24 with my ability. My goal was to go farther and to high jump 6-8. I know I have the ability to go 45 or 46 (in triple jump) but techniquewise I need to work on that.”