On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, Upper Dublin senior Jaden Price-Whitehead was recognized for signing a letter of intent to continue his track & field career at the University of South Carolina.
Jaden Price-Whitehead – University of South Carolina (Track & Field)
Major: Computer Science
Final list of colleges: South Carolina, Arizona State, Baylor, Cornell, North Carolina, Oklahoma
Reasons for choosing South Carolina: “Continuation of my academic and athletic growth, ability to pursue my desired major, and the expertise of the coaching staff. My new jump coach, Coach Dee Quarles, has a proven track record of developing jumpers, in addition to Olympic and World Championship coaching experience.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track and field at the collegiate level? “My progression through the years came from practicing, training, repetition, and dedicating myself to being the best that I could be. The results of this progression really started to show when I began hitting bigger marks, gaining more recognition, and medaling in school and club meets. Running track and jumping on the collegiate level was always an afterthought, it was never something I really focused on. The first time I really thought about it was when a coach approached my parents after one of my track meets. The recruiting process started during my sophomore year after competing well in the Hispanic Games at the Armory in New York and winning the Emerging Elite Long Jump at New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T. Coaches contacted me through letters to my school and home, by email, calls, texts, and social media.”
Ambler Olympic Club President & Head Coach Mike Wallace says: “Jaden started on our team in seventh or eighth grade, and he has always a very fast runner, jumper and high jumper as well. When he started off, he was a little bit more individualistic because he’d been working out by himself, but by the time he’s gotten to where he is now, he’s a great team player. The kids look up to him. He’s a lot about the team. He wants the team to do well, and he’s an exceptional athlete. His 100 speed is under 11 seconds, and his jumping is out of sight. He tries to help some of the other kids come along as well. He gives them advice. When we went to the AAU National Championship last year, we had the 4x100 team, which he was on. He kept the group together – all four of them stayed together. It was just a good presence to have on the team. He kept everybody moving, and they did well – they finished fourth in the nation, which in the 4x1 is very difficult to do. He was the anchor on the team. Jaden works really hard in practice, he works with the long jump, the triple jump – he tries to improve himself, and he tries to help out with the kids. He talks to them – he enjoys them, and they enjoy him. He’s an exceptional young man, that’s for sure.”
Coach Cardwell Wootten says: “I used to be the head coach at Ambler Olympic Club, so I knew Jaden almost since he started in elementary school. He first came to me to train in multi events. He always wanted to run in college, he always wanted to see how far he could go, so the multis were more about – if he’s good at many events, more colleges would probably want him because he’s more versatile. We started in the multi events, but after training for a year or so, we realized he was a lot more gifted in sprinting and jumping than he was in the other events. Plus it took a lot more time to train for 10 events, knowing you had to run the mile, pole vault and throw the javelin. He would have also had to try and change his physique to get a little bigger, which for the dividend wouldn’t have paid off as much.
“In talking with his dad, the decision was made to focus on sprints and jumps. From there, we just started working on his skill set. In track and field, you have some kids that are naturally strong, some kids are naturally fast, and you try and figure out what their gift is. Jaden is what we call high neuro, and what that means is – you have kids who have nervous twitches and fidget a lot with their fingers. He’s that kid who’s always on, which means he’s always ready to go, so training him is fun because most kids come out and you have to teach that, you have to try to train that in somebody. To have that gift already is a huge plus, especially for sprinting and jumping.
“I coach track and field 90 percent of the time, so I’ve coached many national champions, state champions, I’ve had one other Gatorade Player of the Year – Da’Rel Scott, who played for the New York Giants, and was a state champion in the 100 and the 200. I thought he was high neuro, and I thought he was gifted. The difference was Jaden wants it. Jaden will do what you ask him to do to get it. It’s not every day you get an opportunity to train a kid like him.”
Favorite food: Pancakes
Favorite TV show: Hunter x Hunter
Favorite music: R&B
All SuburbanOneSports.com articles (or portion of articles) can be turned into keepsakes. For information, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/article/content/turn-online-features-keepsake-posters-0086874