In the days following the Class 3A Region II meet last April, Jacob Kevetter replayed the 110 hurdles finals race over and over in his mind.
“I barely stumbled a bit,” he recalls. “I was in first or second.”
The small stumble over the ninth hurdle dropped Kevetter from a spot at state to a sixth-place finish, with a time of 15.39.
“He was two hurdles away from state last year,” said Decatur track coach David Park. “He was leading or in second through the eighth hurdle. He got crossways over the ninth hurdle, and that was just enough to make the difference.”
Narrowly missing a trip to Austin gave Kevetter an extra shot of motivation that has the junior turning in the best times of his career. Last week at Sanger, he won the 110 hurdles in 15.04. He also won the long jump with a leap of 21 feet. He took second in 300 hurdles, running 41.26.
His times are only expected to improve as the weather warms, including at Saturday’s Wise County Spring Break Meet at the Decatur High School.
“I’ve been working hard, focusing on the hurdles,” Kevetter said. “I want to make it [to state] in the 110s and 300s.”
Kevetter started running the hurdles in middle school.
“I was the only one in my class that stuck with it,” he said. “It came naturally.
“I love it. People always say, ‘I can’t believe you jump those. They are so high.'”
Kevetter has improved each year. As a freshman, he finished fourth at district in the 110s in 16.76 and fifth in the 300s in 43.70. He dropped the times last year, qualifying for regionals in the 110s and area in the 300s.
This year, Park said Kevetter is running with more confidence.
“He’s picked up where he left off last year and is another year stronger,” Park said. “He’s definitely better in the 110s. But his strength is starting to show up in the 300s.”
While his focus is on the hurdles, his strong start in the long jump may give him a shot at advancing in the field event as well.
“He’s got a great opportunity in all three events,” Park said. “Anytime you are over 21 feet, you’re in the mix.”
He will also be a leg on the Eagles’ 4×400 relay.
Though he’ll have one more year to make a run for a state spot after this year, he’s ready to clear that hurdle now. He knows how difficult those final hurdles can be.