by Kirby Lee
For the last two years, Ke’Nyia Richardson has written “I am a 45-foot Triple
Jumper and a 13.50 hurdler” on the top of each page in her daily diary.
The goals seem to be becoming closer to reality for the 17-year old Richardson, who will
compete in the Arcadia Invitational this weekend.
In the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York City in March, Richardson,
17, bounded 44-6 3/4 to smash the U.S. high school record of 43-11 1/2 set in 1991 by more than
Richardson, a senior at Holy Names High, an all girls Catholic school in Northern California,
has now set her sights on the 45 feet and the national outdoor record of 44-11 3/4
. An evaluation of videotape of her record indoor jump gives Richardson confidence about
challenging the mark.
“I am obviously happy with what I jumped but when I looked through the tape, it wasn’t
perfect,” Richardson said. “I felt like I was jumping as far as I could but there’s a lot to work on
and improve on.’’
Richardson, whose first name is pronounced “Kan-eye-a,” has found success in athletics since
taking up the sport in high school three years ago.
She has not lost to a high school jumper in almost two seasons. In 2006, Richardson was the
American high school outdoor leader at 43-3 1/2 and had the top five high school marks of the
At age 15, Richardson was the youngest member of the age 19 and under U.S. Pan American
Junior team in 2005.
Last June, Richardson, who had the top five U.S. high school marks of the year, won the
USATF Junior Title to earn a berth in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing.
Richardson has run 13.88 in the 100m Hurdles, an event that she picked up as sophomore two
Richardson will have an opportunity to excel in both events next year in college at UCLA
where she will train under the guidance of Bobby Kersee.
“She has the capability to be a great hurdler but her heart lies in the triple jump,” Richardson’s high
school coach Curtis Taylor said.
The triple jump and the hurdles have complemented one another and been a distraction to Richardson.
Richardson said the speed from the hurdles has been beneficial to her approach in the triple
jump. However, Richardson has frequently had to compete in the events simultaneously.
“It’s difficult to concentrate on both but I do the best I can,” Richardson. “I take a jump and
then sprint 100 percent and then I’m tired when I try to go back to get in the jump mode.’’
At the National Scholastic Indoor Meet, however, the events were staggered to allow
Richardson to focus exclusively on the triple jump. She had three jumps over her previous best,
including the national-record effort in the sixth round.
“It didn’t feel any different than the other jumps,” Richardson said. “I was focusing on what I
had been practicing the last few weeks.’’