Huntingdon junior edges area athletes in triple jump

SHIPPENSBURG – All it takes is one attempt.

Huntingdon’s Kobren Frederick today knows that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The Huntingdon junior, who’d never jumped 44 feet before last week’s District 6 meet, leaped more than 46 feet on his very first try in the Class AA boys triple jump competition on Friday morning at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium, then watched as no one else could match him as he captured the gold medal.

Frederick is the first boy in Bearcat track history to win state gold. In fact, Debbie Banker is the only other Huntingdon track performer to accomplish the feat, doing it in 1981 and 1983, also in the triple jump.

“It means so much,” Frederick said. “Words cannot explain how good it feels to wear this around my neck. I can’t even fathom it.”

Frederick’s winning jump was 46-2. Richland’s Michael Somiari was second with a leap of 44-11; Somiari was the No. 1 seed entering the event.

Before Friday, Frederick never had jumped farther than the 44-0 that placed him second to Somiari in the District 6 meet.

“I was like, ‘What in the world just happened?’ I heard 46 feet and I just did that fist pump, and everyone was like, ’46-2?’ Frederick said. “That’s a full 2 feet better than I did last week. I was ecstatic.”

Frederick’s next best jump was 44-10.

“I just put my all into that first jump, and I was a little tired,” Frederick said.

Frederick only has been out for track since partway into his freshman year.

“I did volleyball, and I actually hated it so much that I was like, ‘OK, I’ll do track,'” Frederick said. “Coach was like, ‘Kobren, it’s a little late. You sure you want to do this?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I was a hot mess. It was bad.”

The only thing Frederick was doing on Friday was messing with his competition’s psyche when he pulled out the big first jump.

“It seemed like everyone was like, ‘Oh, snap,'” Frederick said. “Everyone was jumping 43, but they were saying, ‘I’m going to get a little better.’ Then, when I jumped 46, it killed some of the vibe. I’m glad I got it out on the first one.”

Over confirmed Frederick’s comment.

“When he jumped 46-2, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s going to be hard to beat,'” Over said. “It affects you a little bit.”

Frederick, though, wasn’t feeling all that comfortable, either.

“I was sweating it out,” Frederick said. “I was just there watching them jump. They were saying things like, ‘Yeah, my best is 45-5.’ That’s a lot for me. I’m a 44 jumper. I’m like, ‘They are going to come out of the woodwork.'”

Frederick thanked his father, Kenneth, who, while not a track and field competitor in his younger days, helped his son by scouring YouTube videos to find ways to improve his technique.

“He dedicated so much to me,” Frederick said. “He did all this research, like on when’s best to hit a jump. He’d try to find the best videos. Maybe he could find a triple jumper that was tall and lanky like me. I know he didn’t know much, but he tried his best.”

Over took bronze for the second year in a row, leaping 44-2, less than an inch better than fourth-place Tyler Carter of Trinity Christian.

“It feels awesome to get another bronze. You can’t complain about it,” Over said. “The distance really wasn’t as far as I hoped it would be, but, again, you can’t really complain.”

Over jumped 44-6 for his third-place medal last year and flew 45-0 to win the District 5 championship last week. He’ll go for another medal today in the long jump, as will Frederick.

“It was pretty much the same as last year. You had one guy jumping about a foot more than everyone else and a couple guys fighting for second,” Over said.

Forest Hills’ Joe Donoughe took seventh, giving the region four of the top seven in the state.