Up Close : Adam Couitt, Somerset H.S.
By Joe Reardon
For Somerset-Berkley’s Adam Couitt this spring, success in the high jump is all about picking his spots.
Take for example the 6-foot sophomore’s own high jump layout on his home track. The surface is hardly conducive to quality jumps with a feel closer to that of concrete than the slick, synthetic rubber surfaces that are popping up at tracks all over the country. What’s more, the athletes aren’t allowed to wear spikes in the event, instead, limited to flats that simply don’t allow the jumpers to get anywhere near the traction they need on their approach.
Still, with two strikes against him before he even begins, Couitt has been head and shoulders ahead of his competition, clearing between 6-6 and 6-8 in his Eastern Athletic Conference dual meets.
And when he finally got the chance to jump at a legit facility at Dartmouth High, Couitt soared to a personal best of 6-9-¾. “It was a rain date meet and it was a nice day to jump,” said the soft-spoken Couitt.
Arguably the best all-around track athlete in the EAC, Couitt is salivating with the knowledge that he will be jumping on accommodating surfaces as the season continues and the magical 7-foot barrier is well within reach this spring.
He’s made huge strides for someone who is still relatively new at the sport. Couitt got his start in the high jump during his freshman indoor season. His older brother Stephen, now a freshman at WPI, was a high jumper and Couitt tagged along with his older sibling. By the end of the season, Couitt was the EAC champion in the high jump, leaping an impressive 6-4.
Couitt comes into his first spring track season (he played baseball last year) with plenty of confidence after an indoor campaign that saw him jump 6-8 to capture the New England title in his specialty.
Couitt spent the winter turning in a rash of solid performances. He cleared 6-9 to capture both the EAC and state championships and was victorious at the Coaches Elite Invitational meet with a 6-6 effort against a tough, talented field. Couitt went on to win the Div. 3 title at 6-7-¼ jump. He was also more than a little competitive in the 55-meter dash with a second-place finish in the Div. 3 meet and eighth in the states. In the 100-meter dash outdoors, Couitt has run a wind-aided time of 10.7 and has hit 10.8 and 10.9 consistently.
Mature far beyond a tenth grader, Couitt knows there are still wrinkles in his technique that need to be ironed out if he is going to jump higher. Couitt will tell you his approach needs the most work. He has been concentrating on widening his run up to the bar, which naturally straightens his back over the bar. Couitt has found the approach more economical and comfortable.
“I have decent mechanics over the bar but I need to keep working on my approach,” he said. “If you work to much on one thing then you can mess up your other mechanics. We go over basic stuff like working on form. It helps remind me of things I have to work on.”
Head coach Evan Costa has no doubt Couitt can reach 7-feet this spring and that 7-4 and the state record is “realistically” within range by the time he’s a senior. “You’d think there’s got to be a ceiling, but he keeps taking it that much more,” said Costa. “In the past we’ve had a lot of good potential jumper. He’s taken it upon himself to develop the best form of anyone in New England. He doesn’t waste any motion committing to get as high as he can.”
Costa maintains that the squat and core work Couitt does in his workouts are the key to his future improvement. Racing in the dash, too, is a positive for his best talent, giving him some variety in his experience on the track as not to grow stagnant.
“We don’t want him to get sick of the high jump,” said Costa. “As long as he’s progressing and developing, I don’t see it happening any time soon. If he zeroes in on the high jump and he focuses his effort on those muscle systems he could put on 15 pounds that would help him as jumper.”
Couitt is also in the rare for a sophomore of being the team captain. Costa said he has absolutely no problem with Couitt being the face of the Somerset-Berkley squad at such a young age. “He has the other kids buying into it,” said Costa. “You would think a sophomore as a captain would be dangerous, but he backs up being a great athlete with his character. Adam’s very coachable.”