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'Cane has second home

Jamaal Galloway is just as good at track as he is basketball.

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

INVERNESS -- It is not quite as comfortable as a basketball court, but Citrus' Jamaal Galloway still feels plenty at home at the track.

Take Thursday's Gulf Coast Athletic Conference meet, where the junior took first in the long jump, tied for the high jump title and was second in the triple jump.

"It comes at a perfect time. It's like a release sport," said Galloway, the 2003 Times All-Citrus/Hernando Player of the Year. "You go through all the games, and after that, a cool-down sport."

The shooting guard was plenty busy this winter, averaging 22 points and four assists while leading the Hurricanes to conference and district titles. Galloway, who was named to the Class 3A all-state second team, missed track practice until the 'Canes were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

But by competing in the spring, Galloway also improves his game without shooting a jump shot.

Longtime Citrus coach Tom Darby said track and field is beneficial to athletes of all other sports."Track develops that stamina, strength, biomechanical ability and hand-eye coordination," Darby said.

"In basketball, you do a lot of jumping, jump shooting, playing defense, go for passes, all kinds of things that involve jumping."

At barely 5 feet 11, every inch is critical for an athlete who aspires to play college basketball. Galloway's vertical has not been measured.

"I wouldn't even try, but it's got to be pretty good," Darby said.

Galloway said playing basketball the whole season also gets him set for track.

"I don't really practice during the offseason for track like I do with basketball," Galloway said. "I can tell the difference when I'm coming from track going back to basketball as well."

Galloway said he plans to compete in track next spring, even after his basketball future is decided. He is near the top of the school's elite list of jumpers, Darby said.

When Galloway came out for track during his freshman year, Darby saw a very skilled athlete. That year, Galloway was a district winner in the long jump and qualified for regions in the triple jump. He earned all-area honorable mention.

At districts last season, Galloway won the triple jump, long jump and high jump. He finished 13th at the Class 2A state meet in the high jump, leaping 6-2.

Galloway hopes to be more successful when the postseason meets begin later this month.

"That's what I like about it," he said. "It's more individual."

Darby said Galloway could compare with 1991 graduate Dustin Nash, who set school records of 6-8 in the high jump and 22-9 in the long jump.

Thursday, Galloway did the long jump in 21-1/2 and the high jump in 6-2.

With another season to go, he might be able to etch his name in the track and field record books, the same as in basketball.

"He's in the same ballpark," Darby said.

"You never know."

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