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TJ's Jenkins will jump to Indiana University
By CASEY OLSON
Kyle Jenkins is a normal teenager. The Thomas Jefferson High School senior wouldnt mind getting away from home.
Jenkins will have that opportunity next year. The standout athlete for the Raiders committed to attend Indiana University last week and will sign a full-ride track and field scholarship next month.
I liked the coaching staff there and it seemed like a good fit, Jenkins said. I also wanted to get away and get the full college experience.
Jenkins is the defending Class 4A state triple jump champion. He set an all-time Star Track record last May with a leap of 49 feet, 8 1/2 inches and finished sixth in the long jump at 21-10.
The Indiana jumpers are coached by Wayne Pate, who was named the NCAAs National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.
He has a history of guys hes coached before going 53 to 54 feet, Jenkins said. And they were jumping the same as I was in high school.
Jenkins fell in love with Indiana when he visited the Bloomington campus in early February with his parents.
The facilities are really nice, Jenkins said. We toured the campus and we went to an indoor meet and hung out with some track runners. Im really excited about it.
Indiana competes in the Big Ten Conference and finished up in sixth place at last weeks Indoor Big Ten Championships, which concluded Sunday afternoon at the University of Michigan Track Building. Wisconsin won over second-place Minnesota.
Jenkins was also being recruited by the University of Washington and Washington State track teams. But the 6-foot, 185-pounder was also being courted as a football player. Jenkins was an All-SPSL wide receiver and led the 19-team league with 57 catches for 906 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 201 rushing yards and 317 return yards and was also the Raiders punter.
He got some interest from schools like Idaho State to play football, but said he will concentrate on track during his first year at Indiana.
Jenkins commitment to Indiana now allows the Jefferson senior to concentrate on his final sports season for the Raiders. Winning another state championship and the possibility of setting an all-time state record in the triple jump (50-1/4) are goals for Jenkins.
I will be looking to break that, he said. Im feeling pretty good.