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Logan Spicer: Pursuing the many pathways of track & field development
2022-06-17
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In the summer of 2018, Logan Spicer ran times in the 100m dash at Legion Provincials that would have allowed him to final at OFSAA.

Oh yes – and by the way, he also captured gold in the high jump, earning a berth a nationals in a discipline in which he had NOT competed in for two full years. The now 19 year old freshman at Guelph University would take third place at the Canadian Championships (yes, in the high jump) roughly a month later.

Track & field, it would appear, is a constant voyage of discovery for this very talented young man.

“I’ve had to kind of figure out what I am good at and what I want to pursue,” suggested Spicer, looking back upon year one of OUA competition. “Each event is so different technically that it’s hard to do everything. We (he and his coaches) looked at where my strengths are, my body type, my physique, and my technical skills.”

“The most potential for me likely lies in the sprints and the long jump.”

Of course, that might change. And if you don’t recall seeing a mention of the long jump up to this point of the story, you would be correct. Spicer dabbled with the event for a few years early during his days at Lively District Public School and eventually returned to his athletic toolbox at OFSAA in grade nine, unleashing an impressive PB in the long jump of 6.15 metres.

Then he made his way back to the high jump – at least for a few years.

“In the high jump, I put up really great numbers in grades nine and ten, but I hit a ceiling with that,” he said. “My body limited me in certain ways, whereas in the sprints and the long jump, that ceiling is so much higher. If my goal is a world stage, I am going to choose the events that have the best opportunity of getting me there.”

And truth be told, there is an element of crossover, notably with the runway phase of the long jump which is somewhat comparable to the sprints. Mind you “somewhat comparable” is also at the root of why the runway remains the central focus for Spicer as he tries to push the boundaries of his development in both the 100m dash and the long jump.

“They’re similar concepts but very different styles of acceleration,” noted Spicer. “In the sprints, you’re blasting out of the blocks. It’s a very aggressive push into the ground to try and accelerate to max speed as quickly as possible. In the long jump, you want to have max velocity at the board; it’s more of a gradual build to max velocity.”

“It’s still hard to differentiate those two in my brain.”

There is, of course, an element of perspective to what Spicer is terming a challenge of differentiation.

The truth is that we are talking about a young man who unleashed a 10.74 PB at his first meet of the summer in Windsor last month, but also saw his long jump progress during the indoor season from 6.30m to 6.50m to 6.70m and finally to 6.94m at the OUA Championships, good for fifth place in Ontario and just two centimetres away from qualifying for nationals.

“I was so new and raw to the event (long jump) that my jumps in PBs were really drastic,” said Spicer. As many before him have come to learn, making the jump from the high school ranks to university competition is a significant leap – even for the best leapers in the land.

“It’s a different level of training at university,” said Spicer. “As a high-school athlete, I thought I was doing everything that I could to be the best that I can be in the sport. I got to the collegiate level and realized that I wasn’t doing anything. The way these guys train is absolutely incredible.”

It’s also part of the source of his indelible optimism, situated in an environment where excellence is found at every corner of the training track complex. “There are so many people at Guelph that can give you so much advice in so many different ways,” said Spicer, who was able to develop a foundation on which is current growth could blossom thanks in large part to the time he spent with both Track North Athletic Club and the crew at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School.

“This training group is awesome,” he continued. “I get to train with some of the best athletes in the country. They push me every day; I couldn’t ask for more.”

Preparing to depart for the Canadian U20 Championships in British Columbia later this month, Spicer has his sights set on attempting a shot at a time of 10.60 in the 100m, the standard which could qualify him for World Juniors in Columbia. And if it doesn’t happen this summer, he will most certainly take another crack at it down the road.

He is not about to close the book on his track and field career for a few years yet.

“In all honestly, I’m going to run until my body won’t let me anymore,” he suggested with a laugh. “I love sprinting; I love jumping. I couldn’t be happier doing this level of training.”

And if it leads to even more discoveries on the pathway of the athletic potential of Logan Spicer, well, so be it. He’s just fine with that as well.

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