Second love leads long jumper to success

Basketball, not track and field, is David Registe’s first love. But it was his accomplishments in track – particularly in the long jump, in which he took first place at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in May and is only the second long jumper in GNAC history to surpass the 24-foot mark – that earned him the GNAC’s 2007 Freshman of the Year award.

Registe earned a 12th-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championships with a jump of 23 3/4, a performance he said he’s disappointed with. “I had the potential to do a lot better,” he said. “Stuff happens; I just gotta work harder for next year.”

Rafael Echavarria, Registe’s event coach for the long jump, offered another explanation: “In warm-up, we had a lot of tail wind, and when you launch off you have to adjust your steps that you walk. Unfortunately, when he was jumping, the wind stopped, and that factored in too much change because you don’t have that tail wind pushing you forward.” Echavarria said it was the sudden lack of tail wind that caused Registe to jump from behind the takeoff board.

Echavarria sees Registe as an athlete who pays attention to detail and always works hard.

“He’s very motivated when it comes to his workouts, and he’s trying to improve his technique in every workout,” said Echavarria. “He pays a lot of attention to the details.”

Even though the track season is over and Registe is working for the summer up in Deadhorse, he’s keeping up with his practices by himself. “I still run, every day after work – right after work, actually,” he said. “I just do sprints outside, do some drills for the long jump.”

“David’s a great guy, and I feel very fortunate that he’s on our program,” said Michael Friess, head coach of the track team. “He’s a tremendous athlete.”

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Registe originally joined a track team in his junior year at Colony High School, mostly because coaches there urged him to do it.

“I’d been playing basketball my whole life,” he said, “and when they saw how fast I was on the court, they wanted me to try out for track and field.”

He went from having little interest in the sport to loving it, he said, and the long jump turned out to be his best event, earning him two Alaska state championship titles in the process.

Training for track took plenty of hard work, though. Registe had practices almost every day and sometimes struggled with balancing school and sports. “You get used to it,” he said, “but there were some days when you just couldn’t take it.” He couldn’t play basketball for five months, either: “(My coaches) just don’t want me to get hurt doing something else that’s not related to track and field, because that would obviously suck.”

He said his training tapered off a bit as soon as the GNAC Championships were over; because he had qualified for the NCAA Championships with the long jump, he and Echavarria focused on that event. “I started working on my form a lot more, my landing form,” Registe said. “We do a lot of run-throughs trying to get my steps right.”

He’s expecting even harder workouts next season, though, especially with access to the new SportsDome at the ChangePoint church.

“Oh, I know they’re gonna kill me,” Registe said of his coaches. “Before, we were on treadmills, and I was jumping onto a high-jump mat. Now that we have a real facility, training’s going to be harder.”

If things go as planned, that training will include practices to compete in the triple jump, a new event for Registe, as well as hopes for another shot at nationals.

“He did improve tremendously this year,” Echavarria said. “Obviously he’s only a freshman, so I foresee as his coach, he’s going to get stronger and faster. I do expect him to do a lot better for next year.”