Falvey soars to new heights, wins state high jump crownAfter falling short in league meet, Lion picks himself up for 'unexpected' win
Belfast — It is not how many times one falls, but how many times one gets up that helps determine a champion.
Belfast Area High School's Owen Falvey displayed that trait in spades the past month of the indoor track season, which helped the talented Lion end his junior campaign the way only few can — namely, with a state title.
Falvey soared higher than then competition on Feb. 17 at Bates College in Lewiston and claimed the state Class B high jump championship when he cleared the bar at an impressive 6 feet 2 inches.
“It was kind of unexpected,” he said. “I wasn't really planning to win. I mean, maybe second place if I was lucky. I don't know. It felt really good to win.”
Falvey improved on his performance from last year's state championship by four inches, where he finished second with a jump of 5-10.
Falvey placed second in the high jump at the state Class B championships last year, but he did not think he had a chance against Mount Desert Island's Aaron Miller, who ended up finishing second to Falvey this year.
Plus, Falvey had a mental hurdle to clear after his performance at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships.
“I no-heighted in the high jump,” he said. “I came in dead last and I was seeded first. And my teammate [Drew Nealey] came ahead of me [and won the KVAC title]. And I was just like, 'I can't believe I just did that,' but luckily I came back and did something a little more important than KVAC's.”
Nealey did track for the first time in eighth grade, though he admits being a “track kid” was not what he envisioned he would be.
“I wanted to be like that three-sport, All-American-kind of player like [playing] football, basketball [and] baseball,” he said. “In seventh grade coach [Henry] Bouchard tried to get me to join [outdoor] track and I kept shutting him down because it didn't seem like my kind of thing.”
Falvey joined the track team at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast a year later as an eighth-grader.
“My first time high jumping I got like 5-4 or something,” Falvey said. “I didn't know if that was good or not, but apparently coach Bouchard was very impressed.
“Ever since then I've really been hooked on it. I've always wanted to be better and to be a state champion.”
Falvey participates in winter indoor and spring outdoor track for the Lions and does not play a fall sport, though he had previously played football. He added he does not come from an athletic family and that his mother Nancy “spazzed out” when he won the state crown.
“My parents didn't even do sports, which is why my mom's so surprised I'm doing so well in something,” he said. “My grandfather was a doctor, my dad's a lawyer, my aunt's a nurse and psychiatrist and my mom is a business woman.”
While certainly not downplaying his state championship accomplishment, Falvey said outdoor track “is a lot more competitive” than indoor track.
“A lot of the much better athletes play basketball [in the winter],” he said. “They'll play football, basketball then come out for outdoor [track], which is terrible. They pretty much destroy me in my events, which is really sad. But all I can do is try to win again. I don't have another plan.”
But with a state title now under his belt, it appears Falvey's plan is working.
“I want people to perceive me as the best in that one event,” he said. “So I always want to keep going at it until I am the best.
“When you walk onto the field you point out the best player or the best athlete and you say, 'That kid does this and that' and you say, 'Wow that's really impressive,' ” Falvey said. “I want to be that kid, which is something that a lot of kids want.”
Name: Owen Falvey.
Grade: Junior at Belfast Area High School.
Parents: Nancy and Keith Falvey.
Favorite athlete: Jesse Williams.
Favorite personal moment in sports: Winning the state title for the high jump at the state Class B indoor track championships.
Favorite course in school: Anatomy.
TV show you never miss: Ridiculousness.
Favorite phone/computer app: Internet.
What do you listen to on your iPod before competing: “The Man” by Aloe Blacc.
Favorite movie: Forrest Gump.
Food you pig out on: All of it.
Favorite book: Dictionary.
Hobbies: Track, working out.
Vehicle I wish I was driving: 1969 Mustang.
Person you most want to meet (dead or alive): Tom Hanks.
Most influential person in your life: My mom.
Future plans: To be an Olympian.
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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