Salt Fork's Kimbro doubles her fun
CHARLESTON — In the first 41 years of girls’ track and field state meets, Salt Fork — and the schools that it includes, Catlin and Jamaica — never had a state champion.
On Saturday, in less the 21/2 hours, the program had a double winner.
Sophomore Jenny Kimbro took the Class 1A state meet by storm, sweeping to victory in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles races.
In the 300 hurdles, she not only won but also registered a time (43.28 seconds) that would have won the Class 2A title and tied her for second in 3A.
“She’s beating Division I athletes,” said Gary Spezia, Kimbro’s hurdles coach the past three seasons. “She has a competitive spirit that you don’t see when you talk to her. She loves to compete.”
Kimbro’s 300 hurdles mark places her first on the all-time performance list for area athletes. She was chased to the finish by Fisher senior Miranda Marry, whose time (43.34) was also better than the Class 2A champion ran and would have been third in 3A. Marry’s time ranks second on the all-time area Honor Roll list.
“It was good that we were each able to push each other so we could get our best times,” Kimbro said.
Kimbro started her day with a runaway victory in the 100 hurdles. Her 14.71 clocking was nearly a half-second ahead of the runner-up. That time also would have won 2A and would have placed her fourth in 3A.
“I told her to be a sprinter and be first to the first (hurdle),” Spezia said. “She has been getting stronger and stronger.”
Kimbro was the only 1A athlete whose times Saturday would have won two events in 2A.
“Unreal,” Kimbro said after her first career outdoor hurdles state title came in the 100. “It was one of my best races. I can’t believe it.”
Kimbro was a two-time middle school state champion, capturing back-to-back titles in the long jump. As a seventh- and eighth-grader, she was a hurdles runner-up.
“Gary has prepared me very well,” Kimbro said.
As promised Thursday after the qualifications ended, Kimbro switched the color of her nail polish. She had green with teal tips on her left hand and pink with purple tips on the right.
“With our uniforms (black and white), I wanted it to be colorful,” she said.
As good as she’s doing, Spezia believes the best is yet to come.
“She is still very raw,” he said. “She needs to get stronger, and she needs to get more power. In the 300s, she was 1.3 seconds faster than she’d ever run, but she still had some stutter steps. She has a great heart and gave a great effort.”
Kimbro, a two-event state medalist as a freshman, was anxious for the races to start.
“I was really nervous and had trouble going to sleep (Friday) night,” she said. “I still can’t believe it.”
For Spezia, watching Kimbro compete was satisfying in itself.
“This is as much fun as I’ve had in a long time,” he said.
Thanks to the points Kimbro earned as well as sophomore Abby Nicholson’s fourth-place finish in the discus, head coach Gail Biggerstaff’s Storm placed in a tie for sixth in the Class 1A team standings with 26 points.