Kenward, Rigsby win at state
LAKEWOOD — Zaccre Kenward made the jump of his life on Sunday. Then, the Palisade High senior kept on jumping.
Kenward, who came into the Class 4A state championships with the best triple-jump mark in the classification, popped off a leap of 48 feet, 9 1/2 inches on his second attempt in the triple-jump finals. Knowing he just cleared his previous best of 46-2 1/4, he jumped into the air in celebration.
He’s not exactly sure where that kind of improvement came from on the state’s biggest prep track and field stage, but he’ll definitely take it.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” said Kenward, displaying a huge grin. “I just felt really, really good today. I knew Jequan (Hogan from Fountain-Fort Carson) and Gunner (Rigsby from Fruita Monument) jumped really good yesterday, so I had to do what I could to keep up with them. I wanted to make it close between us three.”
No one in Class 4A came close to keeping up with Kenward, whose jump nearly matched the top two jumps posted by Hogan and Rigsby in the 5A triple jump on Saturday. It was also a highlight of his stellar overall meet performance, which included his third-place finish in the long jump and a sixth-place finish in the 200 meters Saturday.
His final jumping event of his high school career couldn’t have turned out any better for him.
“I did everything I wanted to do while I was here,” he said.
Rigsby, like Kenward, took time to celebrate after finishing his high school career on a high note. He culminated a memorable senior season with a trip to the top of the podium after his jump of 22-10 1/2 earned him the Class 5A state title.
The championship capped a remarkable ascension for Rigsby, who competed in track and field for the first time at Grand Valley last year.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever coached in terms of raw talent,” Fruita jumps coach Katie Hummel said. “But he has an ability to focus and, if he’s nervous, he sure doesn’t show it on the outside.”
The state title marked the first track and field title at Fruita since 2007 when Steve Kasica won the 800 meters.
“I think I’ve just matured a lot,” said Rigsby, who is considering Colorado Mesa, Colorado and Colorado State as college track and field options. “My first year of track, I really didn’t know what I was doing. Being in the sport for a year has really made a difference, for sure.”
Palisade also had a state placer in the shot put in senior Caleb Brown, whose mark of 52-2 was nearly two feet better than his previous best. He nearly caught Montrose senior Sam Distel, who finished third at 52-3 1/4.
“We were told to set high goals coming into the meet, and I almost reached mine,” said Brown, who said he wanted to reach 53 feet after winning the shot put title at the 4A Western Slope League meet earlier this month.
Grand Junction also had podium finishers in other events. Preston Deters placed seventh in the discus with a throw of 145-4, and Colin Morrison and Nolan Hynes placed sixth and seventh respectively in the high jump. Michael White placed ninth in the long jump.
Montrose senior Ian Meek, who’ll run at the University of Colorado, next year, finished second in the 1,600 in 4:18.78 one year after winning the state championship in the race. He also finished fourth in the 800 in 1:55.70.
Central’s Talon Berta, who came into the meet with the fourth-best time in Class 5A in the 800, faded on the final lap and finished in 2:02.26. The seed time of 1:55.13 he ran at the St. Vrain Invitational on May 12 broke a school record in the event.
Palisade’s Laura Richardson placed ninth in the triple jump for Palisade.