Jumping Zac

Palisade's Kenward shatters school long jump mark

Zaccre Kenward not only broke the Palisade High School long jump record Saturday during the Mickey Dunn Invitational, he broke it by a whopping 10 inches, clearing 22 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

Zaccre Kenward held back a bit when it came to explaining how good his performance in the long jump was at Saturday afternoon’s Mickey Dunn Invitational.

“Um, I think I broke it by a few inches,” the Palisade senior said about breaking the school record. He had a final mark of 22 feet, 7 1/4 inches in the long jump at Stocker Stadium.

He then paused for a moment, then corrected himself.

“Well, it was a little more,” he said with a wry smile. “It was actually 10 inches.”

That substantial improvement wasn’t quite enough to keep up with the winning mark of 23-2 1/2; by Fruita Monument’s Gunner Rigsby, who broke the Wildcats’ school record in the event for the second time this season.

Regardless, Kenward’s mark in the long jump, along with his winning mark of 45-4 1/2; in the triple jump, are certainly the best among Class 4A competitors.

It also virtually assured — almost two months early — that Kenward will be in Lakewood for the Class 4A state track and field meet the third weekend of May. State qualifiers are based on the top 18 marks in each classification at the end of the season.

That doesn’t mean, however, he plans to take it easy until then.

“I think the idea here is to keep building and building and keep getting better and better,” said Kenward, who was a state qualifier last season. “I think the main idea is for us to keep pushing each other and keep building up for state.”

Kenward has made massive improvements since last spring. His top mark at last year’s state meet was 20-2, and his previous best in the triple jump was 45-1. That placed fourth at state last year.

Rigsby and Kenward will likely face each other a lot at Stocker Stadium track and field meets this season, but won’t at the May 18-20 state meet at Jefferson County Stadium since Fruita competes at the Class 5A level.

Rigsby’s mark in the long jump, according to Colorado Milesplit late Saturday, is the top mark in Colorado regardless of classification.

Rigsby didn’t compete in the triple jump, saying he “had a long way to go to catch up to this guy,” as he was pointing at Kenward. He also said having Kenward to compete against for the rest of the season will only help him set his performance bar in the long jump even higher.

“I’m not one to just sit out or coast. I’m trying to compete every single meet and I’m trying to get better,” Rigsby said. “Progress is the main thing for me, and I know it is for Zac, too.”

Palisade was the top local finisher in the 17-team meet, finishing fourth with 56 points. Grand Junction was sixth (51.5) when it edged Fruita (51), and Glenwood Springs (81) won the team title.

Central had a big winner in middle-distance runner Talon Berta, a senior who won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 57.07 seconds.

Not only did his time beat Rifle’ Jack Rubalcave (1:58.20) but, according to Milesplit, is the second-best time run by anyone regardless of classification.

Not bad for someone relatively new to the event.

“That was only the second time I’ve run this race. Ever,” he said. “I feel like I have a lot more in me seeing how I’ve only done that race twice.”

Also winning for Central was Jared Leblow, whose time of 10:11.97 in the 3,200 missed a personal-best time by two-tenths of a second.

Winning the other distance race was Ian Meek of Montrose, the runner-up finisher in the state cross-country meet, who won the 1,600 in 4:29.78.

Fruita’s 400-meter relay won in 44.29, with Montrose’s Caleb Egbert winning the 400 in 51.03. Egbert’s time is among the top five times in Class 4A.

Grand Junction’s Camden Dottson won the high jump with a mark of 5-9, and teammate Preston Deters took second in the discus at 145-2.

Kenward also won the 100 meters, crossing the finish line in 11.31.


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