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Marable balances sports and school

In a corner of the Tolsma Indoor Track Center infield area at Saturday’s Western Valley District indoor track championships, Halifax County High School’s Jairus Marable competed with his teammates against the best the district had to offer in the shot put event.

The shot put lacks the glamour and excitement of the sprints and jumping events at track meets, but don’t tell that to Marable and teammates Shalar Charleton, Tre’ Morgan and Treyquan Holt.

“Like I tell the kids all the time, it’s only glamorous when you win,” said Comets boys indoor track coach Corey Jackson.

“They do the best you can, and it’s only glamorous when you win and they call your name on the intercom.”

Marable is used to being out of the limelight as an offensive and defensive lineman on the varsity football team, but judging by his characteristic grin the man affectionately known as “porkchop” forges ahead with his usual good attitude.

A relative newcomer to track, Marable started competing last season in his sophomore year, and that fills a void until he begins working out for football in the spring.

“When I started as a 10th-grader, I didn’t consider myself that good in the shot, but I’m starting to get better,” admitted Marable.

“A positive outlook is important.  I try to keep a positive attitude, and I try to make the best of every situation.”

Jackson, a University of Richmond graduate and a defensive lineman for the Division I Football Championship Subdivision champion for the 2008 season, is lending the knowledge gained while in college.

Explosiveness is the biggest key to the shot put, along with power in the hips, and throwing the shot helps Marable out because he can transfer it to the football field.

“You have to have strong hips,” said Marable.  Coach Jackson is a lot of motivation, and we can always ask him for help.”

“The kids have a lot of fun doing it, and I just want to teach them all about what I know,” explained Jackson, who threw the shot as a member of the Comets track team while in high school.

“The weight program has come a long ways, and we’re working on a lot more explosive stuff,” added Jackson.

“It’s been paying off, and we’re starting to see improvements already in the first couple of months of training.”

Marable has been active outside the field as well, as a member of the Young Life Christian Group and the Gentleman’s Club at Halifax County High School.

“We have about 30 kids in that club,” said Marable.

“Last year, we went to Washington, D.C. to see the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. unveiled.

“We go on a whole bunch of trips to see stuff people don’t necessarily see in Halifax County.”

Marable also volunteers his time as a tutor for fellow students. 

“I’m pretty good with my history,” added Marable, who is thinking of becoming a computer engineer

“Porkchop is a pretty stand up guy,” said Jackson, who volunteered on a regular basis while a student at the University of Richmond.

“It’s about helping the community, and any time you get a chance to do that, that’s what it’s about,” he pointed out.

“Honestly, it makes you feel better about yourself.  It humbles you, and it makes you appreciate what you do more.”