BC Track & Field Coach Pam Kelley gets a mischievous glimmer in her eyes when asked about high-jumper Jacob Bookout, and with just two words her audience understands why.
"Six eleven," she said in the Athletic Offices breezeway Monday afternoon.
Bookout, at the Glendale Vaquero Invitational last weekend, smashed his previous personal record jump of 6'8-set just over a month ago on March 4th at the Stanisalus Kim Duyst Invitational-by nailing a 6'11 leap that is not only a new PR for Bookout, but the best mark in California this season.
While we are making comparisons, it'd make him the number one high jumper-by a full inch-in the NAIA, where he intends to continue his education after finishing his final season and classes at BC. Coach Kelley is committed to getting scholarships for her student athletes so they can get degrees and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it...and that often means encouraging them to accept offers from schools where they'll have the best support when it comes to balancing competition and class time.
"Jacob is special, no doubt. He's done everything that's been asked of him this season without complaint. I've been working closely with Jacob to make sure we maximize his physical gifts by paying attention to the finer details of his technique, but I made a decision to relax a bit while wrapping up training for Glendale, and the rest must have helped him!"
Bookout comes from a long line of excellent athletes, including both parents and his grandparents, and he's fiercely competitive. After the Bakersfield Relays, he was asked about his jumps and apologetically said, 'Eh...I'm disappointed. No PR today. A 6'7."
His questioner asked where that put him in the final standings.
"Oh...uh...first," Bookout said sheepishly.
"He's not satisfied if it isn't a PR," Coach Kelley explained, "And right now, he's in a special place. If he just relaxes and does what he can do, there are some other records that could fall."
Kelley is referring to the Bakersfield College High Jump Record of 7'0, and observers of his 6'11 jump last weekend say he cleared the bar with quite a bit of room to spare after getting a simple suggestion from his coach that elicited laughter but remains a secret between athlete and coach.
"I'm just keeping him focused but loose," Kelley said.
And a focused but loose Jacob Bookout is going to live right up to his name; they are going to have to get the "bookout", alright. The record book. Because the third generation track athlete is poised to rewrite them.