Track and Field: Kpeglo ready for take off

Kenton Kpeglo is the Balers' top athlete in the long jump and triple jump.

Kenton Kpeglo usually knows if a good performance is in order during his warm-ups. So when the San Benito High senior felt great warming up at the Avis Kelly Invitational at Gilroy High on March 26, Kpelgo knew something special was in order. He just didn’t know how special.
Kpeglo won the triple jump with a personal-record (PR) mark of 41 feet, 6 inches, and hit another PR in the long jump with a mark of 19-4½.
“I knew I could do well that day, but I wasn’t expecting any PRs,” he said. “I just wanted to do my best and try to beat everyone else.”
A year ago, Kpeglo advanced to the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Championships in the triple jump. Missing out on the finals gave Kpeglo that much more motivation to train harder in the off-season to make sure his senior season would be his best yet.
“It gave me the mindset to push harder and do better,” he said.
The muscular 5-foot-7, 135-pound Kpeglo is aiming to make the CIF State Championships this season. Kpeglo, who currently has the 14th best mark in the CCS, will need to hit a huge PR to make state. But Kpeglo is confident his best jumps are ahead of him. Kpeglo credits his coaches for helping him hone on his technique.
Before every jump, Kpeglo envisions his every step.
“I’m picturing myself doing the jump,” he said. “The key to my technique is to run through the board and run fast. I try to see myself doing the jump.”
What Kpeglo often sees is getting major liftoff off the board, especially this season. The jumping events have become Kpeglo’s strongest athletic pursuit after he played football during his first two years at San Benito and even moonlighted as a wrestler during his junior year.
“Doing wrestling was good,” he said. “It taught me how to be mentally tougher.”
Kpeglo has been humbled by the fact that he’s never been the best in any sport since he got to high school.
“It’s made me want to be the best in something,” he said.
San Benito boys track and field coach Rob Macias said he wouldn’t be surprised if Kpeglo produces a jump of 42 feet or more in the next couple of weeks.
“Kenton is starting to come into his own,” he said. “This is about the right time you want to start putting it all together. We have some big meets coming up, and for us to make a run at the championship, Kenton will be a big factor in that.”
Macias said the key for Kpelglo is to keep his speed during all three phases of the triple jump: the hop, skip and jump.
“Kenton is quick down the runway, and if he can keep that speed during all three phases, that’s when the big jumps happen,” Macias said. “He’s got some work to do, but things are coming along. I believe he’s capable of going over 43 feet. It’s there, and it’s about him believing it and being aggressive in all three phases.”

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