Rolyce Boston wasn’t exactly sure what to pack. The Sheepshead Bay senior felt he had nothing to wear to the outdoor state track and field championships in Caledonia, N.Y., until he came across a particular shirt.
“I forgot I had the shirt in my bag,” he said. “When I pulled it out I looked at it. I said, “This shirt is going to come to use today. I said, ‘Let’s pack it.’”
The shirt which was given to him and his Sharks teammates by the coaches read, “My PR is history.” The next time it was seen, Boston was living up the phrase. He won the long jump with a personal best leap of 24 feet, 6.50 inches Saturday at Caledonia-Mumford HS. It earned him his first-ever Federation title, is the third best jump all-time by a PSAL athlete and one of the top in state history.
“It felt good because I haven’t really had a good state meet,” Boston said. “So it felt great to be up there and put my name in the record book.”
Sheepshead Bay coach John Padula knew the usually subdued Boston had done something special when he heard him yell. He believed the Iowa Western jumper can go further at either the New Balance Outdoor Nationals or when he competes for Guyana at the Pan Am games in July. Boston fouled on two jumps on Friday that Padula believe were over 25 feet. The state record is 25-3.5 set by Bob Beamon of Jamaica in 1965.
“As soon as he started clapping I knew it was going to be a good job,” Padula said. “He usually doesn’t show a lot of emotion.”
Boston’s season turned at the Loucks Games in May after finishing seventh at the Penn Relays with a leap of 43-01.75. His coaches felt he was getting high enough to incorporate the hitch kick, a technique that looks like the jumper is walking on air to add extra distance. Padula said it would have been impossible for him to demonstrate so he had Boston watch videos of it on YouTube.
“After Penn that week I went out there and practiced it and watched the videos every night before I went to sleep,” Boston said. “That weekend it was Loucks. It was the first time that I PR’d. I jumped 24-3.”
Since then a 23-foot jump is considered a bad jump for Boston and the steady progress has put 25 feet in reach. The success was also part of a year that saw his grades improve and his effort as a leader to the programs younger kids also grow.
“It was great,” Padula said. “I was really happy for him. This year has been his year. He has matured as an athlete and a person.”