Wolves' Kennedy Harter jumps over the Class B competition
The junior is aiming to three-peat at the state championship in the triple jump.
STEELE, ND — One of the best jumpers in the state is Kidder County/ Napoleon/Gackle/Streeter junior Kennedy Harter. Harter competes in the triple jump, high jump and long jump. She has been competing at the high school level since she was in eighth grade and first started working on the triple jump in the seventh grade.
“She’s probably what you would call a once-in-a-lifetime athlete for a coach. As someone who won, she won state as an eighth grader in triple jump,” Wolves head coach Kasey Kallenbach said. “She competed in the other jump events in the state track meet as an eighth grader. She did miss her freshman year because of all the COVID stuff and then she won triple jump again last year as a sophomore at the state track meet.”
Harter said the weight-training class that she is taking at school has helped her improve over the last year. Harter enters the 2021-22 season looking to three-peat as the North Dakota State Class B triple jump champion. As of Monday, May 9 she is ranked first in the state in Class B for triple jump, in a tie for fourth in high jump and second in long jump.
“When I think about it sometimes it gets to me but if I go into state with an open attitude I hope to three peat and get a new (personal record),” Harter said. “I just stay calm and focus on what I can control.”
Harter said her favorite part of the events is competing and seeing the results get better and better.
“I enjoy the rush of always having the chance to get better and improve my mark every jump,” Harter said.
When she does have a jump that she isn’t happy with, Harter credits Kallenbach with helping her move on to the next one.
“I ask my coach what I can fix and then I calm down and get into my right head space by focusing on my breathing and knowing that I can always do better,” Harter said.
As Harter gets closer to being a high school senior and college gets thrown into the spotlight more, she is still making up her mind on whether she wants to compete at the next level. Kallenbach’s expectations are sky high for Harter though.
“I definitely think she can go to the top collegiate levels if that’s something she decides she wants to do,” Kallenbach said. “She’s got a lot of drive and she’s one of those unique athletes especially on the girls side that she seems to get better and stronger as she gets older, more driven, more determined.”
Harter said her training schedule and her level of concentration on which events to spend her time working on is for the most part evenly spread.
“I usually work on my events evenly throughout the week but sometimes I’ll do some little drills with triple and then take the rest of the day to focus on my other events,” Harter said.
From Harter’s coach's perspective, Kallenbach said practice is all about working on the fundamentals and making sure that those are completely set in stone.
“We always start with fundamental things,” Kallenbach said. “We always make sure we go back and we do those fundamental things and technique things. So, we don’t lose those, we don’t ever want to say, ‘Oh she’s got those down.’ ... It’s a lot of technique, a lot of fundamental things and building on that, putting it all together. When you’ve got a kid like her it’s pretty easy for her to put those things together and turn it into something special.”
As she has been working on her jumps for almost four years, Harter said she has seen improvements come when she feels the most confident.
“I think becoming more comfortable with my steps and my weight training has definitely helped my long jump and track events this season,” Harter said. “I have definitely had some troubles with long jump so far this season but I got it all figured out and can’t wait to see what I can do.”