Wethersfield senior Holden Speed completed the triple crown of triple jumps this spring, winning the event at the Class MM Championships, State Open, and New England Championships.
Speed, who only began jumping competitively a year ago, ended his productive high school athletic career as both a state and regional champion.
“It was a personal goal to win all three,” said Holden, who began to master the technical jump as a junior and quickly gained confidence in his first meet. “I knew from that moment that I could do something great and accomplish that goal.”
Speed has been a jack of all athletic trades during his time in Wethersfield. Along with becoming a state champion jumper, he also was part of relay teams during the indoor and outdoor track season and was an all-conference football player in the fall.
As a sophomore on the gridiron, Speed contributed as a rangy cornerback and wide receiver during the Eagles playoff appearance in 2019. After a year lost to the COVID-19 cancellation, he returned as an explosive and bulked-up edge rusher, who had seven tackles-for-loss (four sacks) and seven quarterback hurries in only five games this season.
Unfortunately, his senior season on the gridiron was cut short due to a concussion he suffered midway through the season. He used the disappointment of the season-ending injury in the fall to fuel his motivation during both the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons.
“It was a bad time,” recalled Speed. “I’ve learned a lot from it and took what I learned into track season. I like to think I bring the same energy into track that I do football.”
He said his dedication to the weight room was beneficial for both sports, saying, “I think the weight room is the most important part of any sport.”
Speed’s grind in the gym made him a state champion, yet another injury almost prevented the opportunity. This spring, he suffered a pulled hamstring prior to the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) meet and turned to WHS athletic trainer Scott Applebaum, who he credited with his speedy recovery in time for the state meets.
“He helped me tremendously,” Speed said of Applebaum. “I did a few sessions with him and gave me all the stretches and he was able to work on it. He made it 100% better.”
Applebaum’s physical therapy worked wonders, allowing Speed to perform at his best on the biggest stages.
Speed blew away the competition in the triple jump at the class meet and also finished 3rd in the long jump on June 1. He then set a personal-best mark in the triple jump at the State Open on June 6, covering 47’06.05”, before polishing off his high school athletic career with the New England title the following week.
Over the last year, he improved his triple jump by over a dozen feet. He said jumping, just like any athletic achievement, comes down to both the physical and mental part of training and competing, adding “I definitely have come a long way. I owe it all to the gym, that’s where it became a reality.”
Speed, who graduated from WHS last Saturday, will continue to jump competitively at Merrimack College where he will study health sciences with the hopes of one day becoming a personal trainer or athletic trainer.
“I want to give back to the same community that I was part of,” said Speed, who was also part of a hiking club at WHS. “I’ll definitely miss the environment in sports, whether it was football or track in Wethersfield. It’s a very distinct environment that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.”
He added that he looks forward to the increased competition at the next level as he joins the Warriors track and field team in Andover, Mass.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin