Run. Hop. Step. Jump.

A student-athlete in an FDU Knight uniform completes a triple jump.

(Photo: Larry Levanti)

Salif Mane, Division I Knights

By Sara Campione

Three attempts. That’s all Salif Mane, Division I Knights triple jumper, three-time First Team All-American and senior civil engineering major, has to execute the perfect triple jump and move to the next round. If he qualifies, it’s another three jumps. Each flight order is drawn at random for the preliminary rounds and then put into reverse order of best performance for the final round.

Run. Hop. Step. Jump.

Run. Hop. Step. Jump.

Run. Hop. Step. Jump.

Three more attempts for the triple jumpers as they work to land in the sand pit just a few meters ahead of their opposition in the final flight — where competitors hope that one of their attempts has pushed them ahead to land a medal and place on the podium.

Mane has worked tirelessly to perfect his technique. It takes hours of practice to learn the correct form of the triple jump. Leroy Solomon, assistant track and field coach, who has coached triple jumpers for more than two decades, saw the potential in Mane. “A great jumper is someone who can sprint well and take that speed into the takeoff and through the entire jump. To be successful at jumping, an individual needs to develop speed, strength and specific jumping techniques,” says Solomon.

Solomon — who also coached Mane in high school — developed a routine with him to prepare for each meet. “Before a meet, I usually work out on Monday and Wednesday doing technical work and lifting, and then on Tuesday and Thursday, I run,” says Mane.

Mane gets in the right headspace by listening “to a voice note from my father before every competition.”

All of his training and routines have paid off. After placing fourth at the USA Championship meet in Eugene, Ore., in July 2023, he became an alternate for Team USA at the World Athletics Championship.

“I always dreamed of wearing a USA shirt and competing against other nations, so it felt incredible,” says Mane.

Mane had the opportunity to compete against some of the best in the world, at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) U-23 Championship in San Jose, Costa Rica — where he took home the silver medal.

As he enters the final stretch of his FDU jumping career, he is not letting up yet. He plans on pursuing a professional career in track and field, while working as an engineer.

“The USA Championships opened my eyes to what I can do, and I felt thrilled knowing that I am one step closer to achieving my ambitions.”