POULSBO — If you ask North Kitsap discus standout Jason Mumford why he’s been successful this year, he may cite his new dedication to weight lifting; he may mention his careful focus on the technique of hurling the discus; or, more likely, he’ll give props to the orange traffic cone.
The North Kitsap junior, who will join Viking hurdler Kolby Hoover at the Washington State High School Track Tournament this weekend, found the orange cone sitting atop his 1983 Ford Fairmont one day at school after the car had died.
Believing that the cone had saved his car from a towing — and not knowing who to give it back to — Mumford tossed the cone in his trunk. On a whim, he brought it to one of his track meets.
He was successful, and the cone became a superstition, then a tradition.
“I asked him why he needed it,” said track coach Helen Smith, “and all the other students looked at me like, ‘Don’t you know about the cone?’”
Mumford said, “It distracts the other players, and gives me good luck.”
He also credits a weight lifting routine he began this year, greater dedication to discus, and the help of coaches including Tim Adams and assistant Nate Carter.
Mumford qualified for state throwing 147’8” at district, about a foot short of his personal best, but good enough for sixth in the West Central District.
Kolby Hoover qualified by running 38.55 in the 300-meter hurdles.
The time was not only good enough for third in districts; it was good enough for a new school record.
Hoover had been tinkering with his form before the race: “It was a different feeling, but I was going faster.”
Hoover said he’s like to push his time below 38 seconds.
Both athletes will travel to Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma Friday and Saturday for the state championship.
Their appearance is a good sign for the North Kitsap track team; both Hoover and Mumford are juniors, and will have one more year to challenge opposition from across the state.
If Mumford continues with discus, he may or may not find a new good-luck charm. Before the traffic cone, he attributed his success to a pair of black, white, and pink M.C. Hammer-style parachute pants that he found at Value Village for $1.50.
He wore the pants to meets, until it was pointed out that they violated the uniform code.
“They wouldn’t let me bring the pants,” Mumford said, “so I brought my traffic cone instead.”