For my last sports assignment for the 2019 editions of the New Era-Progress, I decided to spend my time at the Amherst Lancers’ indoor track meet Thursday night, held at Heritage High.

It was a small meet, so for a change of pace and different images, I parked myself at the long jump sand pit.

While it was no day at the beach, I did have plenty of sand kicked on me — not by any bullies, but by athletes leaping for that extra inch.

I have been shooting Amherst sports since 1978, and Thursday night I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t sit at the end of the pit during run-throughs.

For those of you not familiar with this term, it’s when the athletes don’t jump but just run full speed, plowing up waves of sand.

Thursday night’s sand was extremely dry, which kept a dust cloud hovering over the pit and plenty more dust settling in my lap.

It was so dry a pair of Heritage track staff stopped the event long enough to pour a trash can full of water on the dust pit.

Amherst track volunteer Heath Cockerham, who was the official sand spreader after each jumper, also took his time to spread the dry sand with the wet for a much smoother and softer landing.

While sitting in the pit waiting for the Amherst athletes to jump, I wanted to get different images of the high jumpers leaping, landing and reacting.

After the last frame was snapped, I got up, dusted myself off and headed home to start removing sand from my Nikon camera.

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