Its hard to tell Logan Gray just started long jumping a few practices ago.
David Seamon, landed almost standing up and left a wide dent in the sand. His 22-foot leap was one of the best jumps of the season for the Rock Bridge boys track and field team’s best long jumper.
Logan Gray stepped up next. His 21-foot jump was farthest then he had jumped.
“By the end of the first practice (in the long jump) he was second (on the team),” jumps coach David Cochrane said. “He’s a guy who can pick things up very quickly.”
Gray, a standout quarterback for Rock Bridge who will join the University of Georgia football program in the fall, has spent the past three springs preparing for the high school football season. But this spring, Gray was free to join the Bruins’ track team. His brother Quin Gray was going to be on the team as a freshman, and many of his teammates from football were on the team, too.
“It was something I wanted to try,” Gray said.
Gray is flourishing in his new sport. Besides his impressive long jump in Wednesday’s practice, he also ran the last leg in the 4 x 100-meter relay, pushing the team to a time that would have bettered the school record. He also runs on the 4 x 200 relay team.
“Pretty much anything we put him in, he’s excelled,” head coach Neal Blackburn said. “He’s been very willing to try new things.”
Nearly everything this season has been new to Gray. Many of the little aspects of track that his senior teammates have worked on for years, he had to learn from scratch. Even running with a baton was new to Gray.
“You have to go through all the intangibles,” Blackburn said. “He’s been very teachable.”
As in football, though, Gray knows how to get the most out of his teammates.
Seamon has had problems scratching on jumps since the beginning of the season. However, as Gray began approaching Seamon’s marks, Gray didn’t stay quiet about it, pushing Seamon to make more jumps.
“He’ll let you know when he beats you,” Cochrane said. “It raises the natural competitive level.”
Gray has had a similar effect on the rest of the team, especially with his teammates in the relays.
“I’m just a really competitive person by nature,” Gray said. “I joke around a lot, so hopefully it brings out the best in my teammates.”
His progress has made Rock Bridge coaches wonder what he could have accomplished in a four-year track career.
“You always like to have kids all four years,” Blackburn said. “But I know he was preparing to try to win a state title in football. Fortunately we have his brother as a freshman, so he’ll be fun for another three years”
Quin Gray is already the best triple jumper and 400-meter runner for the Bruins. He has also runs a 11.25 100-meter dash, which is close to his brother’s best time.
“He’s really good at track, this will be the last chance to be on a team with him,” Logan Gray said. “It kills me to say it, but he probably will be (faster than me).”
Gray said that he is just trying to enjoy the rest of this season before he heads to Athens, Ga., to join the Bulldogs football team.
“You always get the stereotype of being a good athlete,” Gray said. “People ask me all the time if they were planning to move me to wide receiver or safety. Georgia has never once talked to me about playing a different position.”