Penn Hills triple-jumper Jaden Rouse picks Bucknell

Saturday, December 16, 2017 | 1:16 AM

After finishing sixth in the triple jump at the WPIAL championships last year, Penn Hills senior Jaden Rouse decided to get his college decision out of the way prior to the indoor track season.

On Nov. 27, Rouse announced via his personal Twitter account a verbal commitment to attend Bucknell and join the Bison's track and field program next fall.

“They are a really good school academically and athletically, so it was a really good fit for me,” Rouse said. “While I was there, they said they make sure you keep your grades up. You have to make sure you keep your grades up so you can do what you do athletically.”

Rouse, who took his official visit to Bucknell on Sept. 17-18, was deciding between the Bison and Lehigh, which he officially visited in November.

“They were excited to have me and can't wait to get to work with me and see if they can make me into a better athlete,” Rouse said.

Last season, Rouse finished at 43 feet, 9.25 inches in the triple jump at the WPIAL Class AAA championship. He intends to major in engineering at Bucknell but first will look to qualify for states in the triple jump and the long jump this season.

“I just want to do my best and see where this season takes me. Hopefully I will be able to get a PR so whenever I go up to Bucknell, the coaches have something more to look forward to,” Rouse said.

After dealing with left hip soreness since his sophomore year, Rouse hopes rest and changes to his technique will allow him to have his best season.

“I feel like the way I position my body when I triple jump doesn't help. If I work on it and fix it, it should get better. It all takes time, and you have to put everything together. It all depends on our practices because some days we jump and some days we don't,” Rouse said.

Even though Rouse was battling the hip pain, he thought he had a chance to qualify for states. However, Rouse couldn't position himself to qualify.

“I wanted to go to states. I tried and trained really hard for it, but I have a hip injury that would get in the way sometimes and the day of WPIALs, it just wasn't my day,” Rouse said.

“My progression through indoor was great, but once I got to outdoor I slowed down in my progression. I think it was because I was starting to get more pain in my hip or my shins.”

During the fall, Rouse played soccer to stay active for the few months he has off from track and field. This past season, Rouse, a defender for the Indians, was an honorable-mention selection for Section 3-AAAA all-section team.

“I can't sit around and do nothing for two or three months, so I play soccer to just stay in shape,” Rouse said.

This season, Rouse will join senior Emmanuel Mitchell (high jump), junior Lillia Allen (discus and shot put) and junior Daequan Hardy (100-meter, 400 relay and 1,600 relay) on the track for the Indians.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.


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