* Sean Dixon-Bodie has had a historic triple jump season
Sean Dixon-Bodie is having the kind of season that will go down as one of the best ever in the triple jump.
And so is Bloomfield (CT) High School.
Dixon-Bodie, currently US No. 1 in the triple jump with a leap of 52 feet, 1.5 inches, has combined with junior teammate Korey Steele, ranked US No. 7 in the triple jump with a marker of 48-5, to create one of the most explosive tandems in recent history.
That's over 100 feet of pure, straight-up Jumpman. Just one other school, Hoover High of Alabama, has two athletes inside the top 50 in the national rankings in 2020 -- but they're not over 100.
"It lets everyone know that we're not just a good sprints school," said Mo Calenda, 30, an eight-year coach of the jumps program and an assistant at Bloomfield. "We have jumpers, too. Maybe we haven't had a lot of jumpers on a national stage. Now we have two who have taken us to the next level."
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But oddly enough, neither will win a state championship indoors. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference doesn't include the triple jump in its indoor season's run of events, meaning the pair will have to wait until New Balance Nationals Indoor in March to make a run for a national title or an All-American placement.
The success of Dixon-Bodie, who landed the third farthest triple jump in high school history at the Millrose Games last week, has probably come in no small order because of the people around him, his coach Calenda and his teammate Steele. But it may have also taken place because of another reason, too.
"I don't like to think about what other people do," Dixon-Bodie said.
Nor does Steele. Consider that Dixon-Bodie, who's still undecided in his college search -- he's narrowed it down to LSU, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Arizona State, Mississippi State and Kansas State -- is now the second straight Connecticut triple jumper to lead the nation in the event, following in the steps of Brien McMahon graduate Justin Forde, a national champion at New Balance Nationals Indoor in 2019. Forde left his career with the 19th-best triple jump in history, a mark of 51-3.
That's great, but ...
"To be honest, Sean doesn't like being compared to Justin," Calenda said. "Yes they're both from Connecticut, but that doesn't matter. He never used Justin as motivation."
He gets that from Steele every day.
Steele, 16, is a year younger and a grade apart, but he's been a worthy adversary for Dixon-Bodie in practice. The pair spar on the training grounds, with Steele often forcing his counterpart to bring his absolute best.
"I know I have to work harder every day because I'm practicing with him," Steele said.
Calenda, meanwhile, nurtures these fast-learners. And it's been a good fit. A former Division II All-American at American International, with PRs of 51-7 in the triple jump and 24-feet in the long jump, he's found a quick connection.
"I would say he's very understanding," Steele says of Calenda. "There are times when he might see something in the way that we may not. He's been in that same place."
"Coach Mo means a lot," Dixon-Bodie added. "He's one of our biggest supporters. He's always there for us. Usually in the videos. He's jumping around when we do good. He knows we can do better. No matter what, he keeps us humble."
* Steele finished third at the Millrose Games in 48-5
Photo Credit: Derrick Dingle/NY MileSplit
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Fortunately, Calenda may have found them at just the right time. Dixon-Bodie was a soccer player -- he played Center Back -- before he moved into track and field as a freshman. He didn't triple jump indoors that season, but hit 43-1.5 outdoors, all conditions -- which wasn't even top 50 in his national class for that season.
But quick progress would come. A 43-6.5 the following indoor season. Then a 47-0.75 over the outdoor campaign. Nearly five inches would add to his frame. He would join the football team. His junior season, Dixon-Bodie finished fourth-overall at New Balance Nationals Indoor, going 50-2.5.
"He was progressing faster than any other triple jumper I've ever coached," Calenda said.
Meanwhile, Steele, was meeting the challenge, too.
While a little smaller in frame, the 6-foot-1 Steele made up for it with speed. Calenda said he has the kind of athleticism that jumps off the board -- literally.
While he only produced a mark of 34-7.5 as a sophomore, Steele was over 20-feet in the long jump.
A year later, he's added nearly 14 feet to his triple jump, with a best of 48-5 -- he was third at Millrose. He's been even better in the long jump, where he's marked 23-feet. He's top 25 in both events nationally.
"For Korey, coming from not really being good at the triple, to grasping it, to where he is now," Calenda said. "He's leaps and bounds above anyone I've coached."
"He's on pace to beat Sean's junior year record."
And that's what's made this partnership most rewarding.
Steele's two best PRs came on days when Dixon-Bodie also hit over 50. Or maybe Dixon-Bodie hit 50 when Steele's had his best days. Which prompted the other?
"It's amazing," Calenda said. "Korey has probably brought another element in Sean that Sean didn't know he had. Korey beats up on him all the time at practice. If practice determined who'd be All-American, Korey would win. But I think that's what brings it out of Sean."
Ultimately, Bloomfield's duo is rare. Rarely does one team produce such elite talent in the field.
But Calenda isn't complaining.
Each athlete has their owns goals. Steele wants to hit 50 by the end of the season. Dixon-Bodie wants to go even further, in the 53- or 54-foot range.
When told no one in high school history, indoors at least, has ever gone above 52-7.5, he simply shrugged.
"To be honest, I still don't know the national record for the triple jump," he said. "I set a goal to jump far my senior year and to make sure I come out the best of all time."
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