Oxford Hills senior Jadah Adams has won the past two Class A state javelin championships. Sun Journal photo by Adam Robins

SOUTH PARIS — Jadah Adams and the Oxford Hills Vikings won the Class A girls basketball state championship this winter, and while it was Oxford Hills’ first basketball title ever, Adams was already used to winning trophies.

As a sophomore, Adams won the Class A state javelin title in outdoor track. Then as a junior, she won it again. But it almost never happened.

“I got more competitive, especially in javelin,” Adams said. “I focused more on this because I was getting better at it. My freshman year, it’s freshman year. It’s a complicated time, you’re getting into high school. I almost actually quit track and I’m very glad I didn’t. It was just a lot. I was trying to balance school, AAU basketball and track at the same time and I was like, ‘Coach, I can’t do it.’ He was like, ‘You have to stick with it. You’re going to be great. Just trust me.’ So I said, ‘Fine.’”

Her coach, Nate Danforth, knew of her potential even as a freshman as Adams had, a year previously, broken the Oxford Hills Middle School turbo jav record as an eighth-grader.

Adams was playing travel basketball on the AAU circuit with a lot of the same girls she won the 2019 state title with, while also was adjusting to high school life and didn’t know if she could add in track and field.

“Her whole life has been basketball since she was a kid, so she had lots of team stuff, commitment stuff, and she was coming to me having to go here, having to go there,” Danforth said. “It would have been real easy for me to go, ‘You’re not putting the time in.’ But I saw her potential and we managed the time and made sure she stuck with it and told her she’d appreciate it and good things were going to come.

“She trusted me and every year it got easier to keep her involved in track with her success.”

Adams decided to stick with it, and it paid off completely.

As a sophomore she threw a distance of 115-02, winning by three feet at Class A states. By already reaching the mountain top as a sophomore, Adams’ goals grew larger.

“One goal she really wanted was the school record,” Danforth said. “I had coached the girl who held the record, Devin Edwards, previously. I said, ‘Well, that would be awesome. Devin always asks me if there are any girls ever close, she’s pretty proud of that record.’ Then she started asking about the state record.”

In basketball, Adams is used to having others rely on her for the team to play well. In javelin, she knows she only has herself to blame.

“With javelin, it’s more of an individual thing,” Adams said. “I feel like, for myself, you have more pride in just yourself. It’s just you out there. This year I am competing against myself and trying to beat my records. I’m not competing against some girl who has won states three years in a row. Whereas in basketball, it’s a team thing. It’s a balance.”

The school record, held by Edwards, was 118-11. The Class A state record was 131-10 held by Keila Grigware of Biddeford. Both got demolished by Adams at the 2018 Class A state meet when she threw 135-07.

There’s no way for Adams to compare the titles she’s won, but the javelin success has led to a place on the Northeastern University track and field team next year.

“My track family and my basketball family, I love both of them,” Adams said. “It is pretty sweet to bring home the first gold ball. My sophomore year when I was on the first-place pedestal, nothing could beat that. Maybe junior year when I broke the state record. I am so happy I am going to college for javelin because it’s just something I love to do.”

This year, Danforth has been preparing Adams for college with a new run-up and technique. It’s been a process for Adams, but there are still two weeks until the KVAC conference meet.

“This year coach is having me try a new approach, adding to it, tweaking some things, and it’s definitely difficult,” Adams said. “I’m picking up on it, just shaking the rust off. It definitely gets to you, but you can’t let it, especially when I’m going to college for it, it’s my senior year and I want to do well.”

In her most-recent track meet, Adams won the javelin with a throw of 113-06.

“Her throws aren’t where they were last year, yet,” Danforth said. “I changed up her motion, and getting her used to what it’s going to be like at school, and they’ll want her to have a full routine. She’s been going from a half approach and relying on her strength and muscles. So we’re trying to get her to look more like a college thrower and she’s trying to wrap her head around that part of it. She’s coming along just fine, we want to peak at the big meets.”

For Adams, her approach this year is the same as it always has been. It can get difficult to focus once you’ve won for as long as Adams has, but she’s focusing on her throws and her ego is still kept in check.

“For this season, especially, I don’t go into meets saying, ‘Oh, I’m the best there is,’” Adams said. “I just think, ‘All right, it’s another meet so I’m going to do the best I can and give it my all.’ It’s just like with basketball, you can’t go in undermining your opponent. That’s how we had success, so I’m going to stick with that strategy.”

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