Southview’s Joplin makes quick leap to successWritten by Scott Calhoun | | email@example.com
In the Northern Lakes League, the name Shaun Joplin immediately sparks up talk of high school boys basketball.
The 6-foot-2-inch sophomore son of UT basketball coach Stan Joplin has starred on the young, but talented Sylvania Southview Cougars varsity team for the last two years and is sure to be a prominent local fixture in the sport for the next two.
But Joplin is making a more profound impact for the 2007 NLL-champion Cougars’ track and field team despite having only participated in the sport for six weeks.
Joplin entered the spring sports season as a member of the Southview baseball team before he accepted the offer of decorated Cougar track and football coach Lee Boyer.
“We tried to encourage him to take part in track last year and that never panned out,” Boyer said. “This winter I approached him again and told him we could really use him in the jumping events, and he told me he’d consider it.”
Joplin didn’t take the bait right away.
“I didn’t do track last year because I was spending most of my time in basketball,” Joplin said. “This year I felt like I wanted to try baseball.”
Joplin cited an ultimatum from his father as one of the reasons he made a brief stint on the diamond.
“My dad told me if I didn’t give up baseball that he’d take me out of AAU [basketball],” Joplin said.
Joplin gave in and made the leap to the track. His father and Boyer turned out to be right.
In mid-April, Joplin immediately picked up the techniques of the high jump and the long jump. He has since made the swift rise to league champion in both events.
Joplin’s surprise arrival on the oval and subsequent success may have single-handedly pushed the Cougars over the top in the recent NLL track meet. His victory in the two events provided 20 points to his team’s total score.
Joplin then went on to win his first district title at St. Francis de Sales High School in the long jump last week with a top distance of 21-1 1/4. He took runner-up in the high jump, but still qualified in both events for regional competition.
Joplin already set the Southview school record in the high jump with a season-best height of 6-7 at the recent Oregon Clay Eagle Invitational and glided well over 20 feet in his first meet competition after only four practices.
Boyer said Joplin’s grasp of the jump events comes as no surprise.
“Shaun has a natural ability to pick things up and a desire to learn. He’s not afraid to ask questions,” Boyer said. “He can jump out of the gym. It wasn’t rocket science to see that Shaun could be a great high jumper and long jumper.”
Joplin is not only expected to continue being a star in basketball and track, but football as well. Boyer said he believes Joplin will become an area household name during the fall when he may emerge on the gridiron as a top-flight wideout with the Southview varsity football team.
Joplin expressed excitement about his third sport.
“Football’s going to be fun because I’m taller than most defensive backs and I’ll be able to get up higher in the air,” he said.
But for now the emerging three-sport star is concentrating on taking his newfound spring sport ability to the next level.