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This article was published 9/6/2018 (1200 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Records are made to be broken, but usually they’re broken by athletes with more experience and training than Robbie Gerstner.
Gerstner, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student at St. Paul’s High School, shattered the provincial junior varsity boys triple jump record with a jump of 13.61 metres. Gerstner’s jump on Saturday at the Manitoba provincial track and field championships took down a 47-year-old record, as the previous top mark of 13.36 m was set by Kasmir Mankiewicz from St. John’s High School all the way back in 1971. What makes it more impressive is the fact Gerstner started competing in the triple jump last year and only has five track meets under his belt.
"I’m relatively new to (the triple jump) and don’t have much training," said Gerstner, who stands 6-3 and also plays volleyball and basketball at St. Paul’s. "I thought maybe (breaking the record) was achievable, but I didn’t actually think I’d get it."
Gerstner had a personal best of 13.02 m in the semifinals on Friday and that’s when his coach and physical education teacher, Jeff McMillan, let him know that the record could be in reach for him in the final.
"I was absolutely ecstatic," Gerstner said, on the moment he heard he won gold and broke the near half-century-old record in Saturday’s final. "I jumped up and down. It was amazing. I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life."
McMillan, who has been coaching at St. Paul’s for 15 years, said he has never seen a track athlete excel as quickly as Gerstner has.
"This is a really special kid here," McMillan said. "He plays volleyball and basketball, so he’s used to jumping. He’s got good springs, he’s tall, has some strength and uses those long legs to his advantage.
McMillan discovered Gerstner a year ago at a Grade 9 field day at the school. McMillan said they’re always looking for "diamonds in the rough" and after seeing Gerstner in the long jump, he knew he had potential in the triple jump.
"(Triple jump) is kind of made for him in some ways," McMillan said. "It’s just tailored to his body type and jumping ability."
Gerstner doesn’t do any training for track and field outside of the school’s outdoor season. He came into the week just hoping to win a medal, but after his record breaking performance, Gerstner thinks the sport will become a bigger priority now.
"I’ll probably start taking it more seriously now," Gerstner said.
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.