Player of the Week: Andrew Staples

Player of the Week: Andrew Staples
Andrew Staples, men's track & field (photo courtesy GoNU.com)

By: Anthony Gulizia, News Staff

Junior long jumper Andrew Staples took first place at the New England Championships with a jump of 24 feet, 2.5 inches Saturday. His victory was the first time Northeastern claimed the long jump title at the New England Championships since 2004. Staples’ efforts have earned him Huntington News Player of Week honors.

Last year, most of Staples’ jumps were in the 21-foot range, but he said he has shown improvement this season and expects to surpass such numbers.

“Those 24-foot jumps at the beginning of the season would’ve been a good jump for me, and now they’re just average jumps,” Staples said. “It felt good to bring that home.”

Staples’ winning mark was only his third-best jump of the season, with his best mark at 24 feet, 4.75 inches, set April 30 at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships in Fairfax, Va. However, Staples has an ambitious goal in mind, which he said he plans to reach by the end of the year.

“I practice my approach a lot and that’s most important and I need to keep that as consistent as possible,” Staples said. “I’ve been busting my butt to get my jumps this good all year and now it’s tough to try and keep them. I want to end my season better than 25 feet, which would be a school record.”

Staples is also training for Eastern Regional Championships May 28 and 29, which consists of the top 48 NCAA jumpers east of the Mississippi River. The top 12 performers will go to Nationals in Eugene, Ore., June 9 to 12.

“I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to Nationals,” Staples said. “But if I bring my ‘A’ game and can put together an awesome jump, I can end up there.”

The Narragansett, R.I., native said he enjoys soccer, and had quite the prolific career at Narragansett High School. His senior year, Staples scored the second-most goals in the state. Although he doesn’t play much anymore, it’s still his favorite sport, he said. But the rush doesn’t compare to track.

“I miss [soccer] a little bit,” Staples said. “I like the rush of the game, but no feeling compares to the feeling when I’m about to jump. It’s just you and the sandpit, not 10 other guys. And it’s just you, you’re own two feet, and that little piece of wood you jump off. Long jump is the truest measure of athletic ability.”

Off the track, Staples is focusing on his training.

“Right now, I have a lot of time because I’m on co-op so I work untill 2 p.m., I get my training done in the morning and my day is done by 6 p.m.,” Staples said. “I like to appreciate the down time, and my focus is my training right now.”

The life of a Division I athlete isn’t always easy, and Staples said he misses some of the things he used to be able to do.

“When my friends go out, I can’t because I got to wake up and go to practice, or sometimes someone is visiting, but I can’t be there because I’m on the road,” he said.

Upon graduating, Staples plans to take his track career as far as he can, as well as pursue a career in athletic training.

“Of course I want to compete in the Olympics, but what kid doesn’t?” Staples said. “And as far as career, I want to get involved with some higher-level basketball team like Division I or the NBA and work with them as an athletic trainer.”

Staples said he feels being an athlete will help him in assisting patients with injuries.

“I have a pretty rare advantage as to being an athlete and then being a clinician on the other side, and being put myself in the athletes shoes and realize exactly what is bothering them,” Staples said.

Staples looks make a mark at Eastern Regional Championships, which takes place May 28 and 29, and qualify for Nationals.

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