When Bunnell’s Ruvens Exantus first began the triple jump his sophomore year, he would channel his inner musician as he stared down the runway.
“(Head coach Jim Brown’s) words were, think of it as drumming; you have to have a three-beat rhythm and keep the spacing in between each beat (jump) consistently the same,” Ruvens said. “And with my musicianship, I finished third at SWCs (South-West Conference) for triple jump.”
Exantus’ extraordinary musical talents and athleticism went hand and hand on the track as he excelled for Bunnell in the jumps and hurdles.
“Ruvens is an outstanding percussionist,” Brown said. “Hurdles and triple jump are really rhythm events so they were a natural fit for Ruvens.”
The Register’s boys track and field Area MVP first started the hurdles his freshman year. Exantus explained he wasn’t as fast as the other sprinters so he gave the hurdles a try. It was a perfect for him as the event also gave him the opportunity to work on his sprinting skills.
Throughout his track and field career at Bunnell, Exantus was able to separate himself as one of the best technical track athletes in the state.
“I believe I excelled because I was able to translate normal sprinting speed to runway speed and hurdle speed quite efficiently without really losing running form,” he explained.
Added Brown: “I have had other multi-talented athletes before, (but) because Ruvens was so good at the technical events, it wasn’t too difficult to decide which events he’d compete in as he wasn’t the fastest sprinter in the SWC this year, but he was the best sprint hurdler and triple jumper.”
This past spring Exantus, a senior, won the 110 hurdles, triple and long jump and placed second in the 300 hurdles, scoring 38 of his team’s 78 points in a runner-up finish at the SWC Championship meet.
At the Class MM state meet, he won the triple jump (44-07), finished third in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles, scoring 20 points.
Again, Exantus links up his success on the track to his musical talents.
“I take huge credit into my musician prowess,” he said. “Where being a drum set player and center snare drummer for the BHS drumline, you always have to keep the same rhythm the entire time. So I believe my good sense of rhythm contributed to my success in these technical events.”
But it was the triple jump where he really stood out, becoming the top athlete in the state in the event. Exantus soared 46-10.25 for a personal best at the State Open and followed that up with a second place finish at the New England Championships (46-02.50).
“I credit it to the weight room and the amount of speed that I’ve gained through it,” Exantus said of his triple jump progress. “Also with being a veteran I no longer had to worry about the three jumping I just had to worry about coming down the run way as fast as possible getting bouncy before I got to the take-off board and hold each phase of my jumps as possible as I could.”
Exantus will attend Southern Connecticut this fall where he will continue his track career.
“Ruvens brought a great attitude and work ethic to the team,” Brown said. “Coaches are always looking for their best athletes to be the hardest workers and with Ruvens, I certainly had that this year which is why the team was as successful as it was.”