The Kenwood track and field team is on the rise, thanks to the performances of Travis Jenkins, his teammates and coach Mark Planamente, who has directed the program for the last two seasons.
Saturday, the Blue Birds finished in the top 10 in the Pikesville Track Classic, a 40-team meet that is one of the biggest outside of the state meet.
Jenkins, a senior, won the long jump (22 feet, 4 inches) and high jump (6-4) in state-best leaps.
That performance followed a four-team county meet against Parkville, Loch Raven and Perry Hall in which Jenkins also won the long jump (20-9 1/2) and triple jump (39-9 1/2 inches) and finished second in the 400 meters (53.2 seconds). He was also declared the winner of the high jump, in which he took only a warm up jump, as he was the only competitor.
"He's only 5 feet, 7 inches tall," Planamente said. "But his work ethic is tremendous. All he wants to do is get better. He's improved his long jump by two feet this season and had never high jumped over 6 feet."
If Jenkins -- who will attend Delaware State next year to run track and play basketball -- wants to get better, so does his team. When Planamente took the head coaching job two years ago, Kenwood had a total of 15 athletes competing on its boys and girls teams.
"Since then, I've been actively recruiting students from kids I have taught in class," Planamente said. "Now, just in indoor we had about 90 on the boys and girls teams and have about 70 for outdoor track."
Planamente has also worked on fund raising with students and parents. All of it has culminated in the Blue Birds being able to host their own invitational, The Patrick Invite, which is Saturday.
"All of this has brought a lot of attention to our team, as more schools are noticing us as we perform well at invites that we never went to before," Planamente said. "We've gone from being nothing to being a contender in the county and state."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun