By Tom Robinson
SCRANTON – Asad Whitehead has kept busy this spring.
Each day, the Hanover Area junior can be found playing basketball or participating in track and field at either practice or a meet. Often, he is doing both.
Whitehead made two additions to his routine, joining the JB Hoops AAU team and the Hawkeyes track and field team.
Both have paid off.
In his first year with the program, Whitehead made the JB Hoops Callahan team, playing a national-level AAU schedule with many of the top high school players around District 2.
After briefly testing his interest in track and field a year ago, Whitehead committed to the sport this season, becoming a district champion and state-meet qualifying jumper.
The track and field portion of Whitehead’s spring comes to an end Friday and Saturday when he participates in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
Whitehead showed off the athletic ability that was just part of the package in making him Hanover Area’s leading scorer and a first-team Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 all-star, according to NEPABasketball.com.
In the District 2 Class 2A Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium May 15, Whitehead won two of the three jumping events and finished third in the other.
Not bad for a guy, who did not even make it to the meet when he decided to give track and field a try as a sophomore.
“I actually started track my sophomore year, but it was indoor because the weather didn’t break yet,” Whitehead said. “Then, the first day we went outside, I said ‘yeah, this isn’t for me’.”
This spring, Whitehead could be outside for track and infield for inside playing basketball, or often both.
“I usually try to go to the park every day or get in the gym for an hour or two,” said Whitehead, who will join his high school teammates for a summer league in Nanticoke along with playing at JB Hoops. “We have open gyms during the week and I’m also doing AAU.”
Whitehead said basketball remains his number-one sport. Coming up to Scranton to be part of JB Hoops shows his emphasis there.
“That’s going well,” he said. “I’ve made a couple friends. It’s a good experience and there’s a lot of competition.”
On Tuesday’s in the spring, Whitehead’s routine usually involved getting right to Scranton for JB Hoops practice immediately after a WVC dual meet with the Hawkeyes.
Whitehead showed off what he learned in his first full season of track when he won the triple jump and long jump at the district meet and finished third in the high jump.
In the triple jump, Whitehead won by more than two feet with 43-9.
“My first jump was a 43-9, so that pretty much set the standard for the rest of the meet,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead also led the way in the long jump with 21-7. He cleared 6-1 in the high jump.
At Shippensburg, Whitehead will get right to work. The long jump is being contested Friday morning and will be among the first events in which medals are awarded. The triple jump, in Class 2A, is scheduled for Saturday morning.