Derek Bergin always went to practice.
You just never knew where that practice would be.
Bergin is a sophomore at Calvary Christian High School and a member of the school’s track program. On top of running in a relay, he competes in the triple jump, high jump and long jump, and because of this, he has to find a place to work out before going to practice because his school doesn’t have the facilities to accommodate the jumping events.
It didn’t stop him.
“I work out, I just go to different schools and practices,” said Bergin, who lives in Churchville. “I’ll go to William Tennent, that’s where I used to go a lot, but now I practice at Upper Moreland. It’s not hard to find places, you just have to go and get there. You need to find a place because we don’t have that.”
Bergin must be good at finding places to work out because he certainly got better.
For the second year in a row, Bergin qualified for the state track meet at Shippensburg University. And this year, he reached new heights by earning a spot on the podium and some pretty cool bling.
Bergin medaled by placing seventh in the state in the triple jump by leaping 43 feet, 11 inches, which established a personal record for the athlete, who also competes on the Calvary Christian basketball team.
As a freshman, qualifying for the prestigious state championships was a great accomplishment, but reaching the podium this year proved the hard work he’s put in has paid off.
“I’m very happy with the finish,” Bergin said. “I went in hoping for a top-10 finish, so finishing seventh was great. It’s exciting to be there, but it does feel good to do well.
“I think going last year helped me. It let me know what I was going to do, I went there knowing everything. Last year was great, too, but going there for a second time, I think I was more prepared. It’s pretty incredible. It was an eye-opening experience. I never knew I could (compete with that) kind of talent.”
By virtue of his strong performance at states, he qualified for the national championships to be held this weekend at Franklin Field.
“I think a lot of what I’m doing comes from a lot of athleticism,” said Bergin, who says being a Christian is a huge part of his life. “We don’t have a track to practice on and I’m not a muscular person, so I guess athleticism. But I do work hard.
“It’s my second year doing it. I was going to do it in eighth grade, but then COVID happened. I think I became a good jumper because I started playing basketball in seventh grade. I think that helped, probably. But you also have to practice. All of the events are about doing proper form and that comes from practice.”
It also helps that he has good genes.
Long before he was starring for Calvary Christian, his mom was doing the same in high school. And whenever he needed some quick coaching, he knew exactly where to go for advice.
“My mom was a track star in high school,” Bergin said. “She did all the jumps, too. She has a couple of records for Northern Potter. She was good at the triple jump, too, but she was an all-around good athlete, I think.
“She’s not an official coach, but she helps me get it all down since she did it before. It’s pretty easy, she encourages me, it’s really nice to have her there. She taught me it and it stuck. She’s great. She taught me all I know now, she’s been pretty good.”
Getting a chance to jump at nationals this weekend will give Bergin a chance to continue his sport into the summer. But he’ll also stay busy in other areas.
When he’s not competing in mom’s sport, he’s staying busy doing an activity that his dad enjoyed as a kid.
“I like to skateboard, and just hang out with my family,” Bergin said. “I love skateboarding, I have a halfpipe in my backyard so it’s something I practice sometimes. My dad has been doing it his whole life, me and my brothers, he taught us and we really like it. Both of my parents are really good athletes.”
They taught him how to play sports, they also taught him to be a hard worker.
A strong student in the classroom, Bergin will spend his days working as a lifeguard at Carson Simpson Farm Christian Camp in Hatboro.
“It’s not bad, I haven’t gotten my certification yet, but once I do, I’ll be a lifeguard,” he said.
He’ll also work on his other game.
Last year, his second year as a starter for Calvary Christian, he led the team to a five-win season. He hopes that number, just as his jumping numbers, continue to go up.
“I actually like basketball more than track, but I know I can go further in track,” said Bergin, who is the team’s starting point guard. “My mom played basketball, but she wasn’t a point guard. She’s pretty tall. But she taught me a lot.
“I think we can definitely be good in basketball. A lot of good people in the league are graduating, so I think we can make an impact next year. I think we’ll be pretty good.”