GLYNDON, Minn. — Joshua Finseth was 18 years old when he beat his dad’s mark in the triple jump.
It was his second jump of the day at last week's Minnesota Class 1A, Section 8 meet, and before the official finished reading off the entire measurement, he not only knew he broke a 21-year-old section record, but finally topped his dad.
He went 45 feet, 3 inches in the triple jump to win the boys section title for the second season in a row. The jump was 9 1/2 inches farther than the previous record mark of 44 feet, 5 1/2 inches, set by Stephen-Argyle’s Andrew Aakre in 2000.
“I knew instantly when I heard ‘45,’” said Finseth, a junior at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. “I knew what the record was, I just didn’t think I was gonna do it that day.”
Until that moment, Joshua’s dad, Jarrod, owned the farthest jump in the Finseth household. Jarrod, who was a jumper for Win-E-Mac (Minn.), produced a career-best mark of 44 feet, 4 1/2 inches at state as a sophomore in 1993.
“One of his goals was to beat his dad’s jump,” said longtime DGF boys track and field head coach Mike Anderson. “That was part of the highlight — that he finally took his dad’s mark.”
Some don’t want to beat their heroes, but not Joshua. Ahead of Friday’s Class 1A state meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School, Finseth is aiming for a higher podium finish than his dad’s third-place spot in 1993.
“It’s always been a little competition between him and I for me to beat him,” Joshua said. “He likes to mess with me a little bit to try and get me to do better.”
Joshua’s record-setting and personal-best jump was more than three feet farther than the 42-2 he posted at the section meet as a freshman.
“I was really excited,” Joshua said. “I looked for my coach, just to hug someone. I looked around kind of confused as well because I just didn’t know how to react.”
Finseth won three individual section titles for the Rebels, who placed third at the meet with 76 points, three behind champion East Grand Forks. He defended his Section 8 titles in the 400 meters, long jump and triple jump.
In place of his sophomore season, which was canceled by the pandemic, Finseth ran every single day — about five or six miles — with a group of his cross country teammates. After the cross country season ended last fall, he didn’t take much time off.
“When you come out and go by our school — even in the wintertime — if the track is clear, he’s usually working out there,” Anderson said. “He’s worked very hard in the offseason, and of course the physical development of maturity of two years has helped.”
Finseth finished fifth in the 400 at the state tournament as a freshman in 2019. Anderson said Finseth, who has made it to the state meet every year since his first year on varsity in seventh grade, was always ahead of his time as a competitor both physically and mentally.
“The 400 meters is always thought of as kind of a man's race. You've got to be pretty physical in order to run that,” Anderson said. “And he came to me after the race and said, ‘Coach, I see what you’re talking about. I needed more strength.’”
Finseth is hoping to build on his 13th-place finish in the long jump and 14th-place finish in the triple jump from the 2019 state meet.
Finseth, who started off as a distance runner, isn’t the tall and gangly seventh-grader Anderson first met anymore. He’s ready to showcase what he can do at the state meet later this week. Finseth enters the meet as the top seed in the 400 and triple jump, and third seed in the long jump.
“My impression of him was kind of like, ‘Where did this kid come from?’ He was talented to begin with, but he looked like a regular seventh-grader,” Anderson said. “He hadn’t reached his full potential yet. I thought he was going to be a good one down the road, and in a year or two, I had that figured out pretty well.”
Finseth shaved 1.48 seconds off his 2019 time (51.32) to repeat as the section champion in the 400. He crossed the finish line in 49.84 seconds. The DGF junior also turned in his best mark of the season in the long jump to win that event by 3/4 inch with a leap of 21-9.
Finseth’s teammate, senior Justin Wang, qualified for state in the 400 with a time of 50.41 seconds.
Two years ago, Wang and Finseth were a part of the 1,600 relay team that qualified for state.