Heritage shot putter Jake Rounds will attend Northern Arizona next year, becoming the first Patriots track-and-field athlete to compete at the next level. Rounds transferred from Freedom after his sophomore year.
That same day, Freedom high jumper Mike Kicenski signed his letter of intent to Chico State.
Rounds, known for his Samson-like blond hair, has been one of Heritage’s strongest athletes since making the switch. Rounds’ shot put toss of 57 feet at the recent North Coast Section Meet of Champions earned him a place at this weekend’s California Interscholastic Federation championship meet in Clovis.
Rounds is excited by the prospect of attending Northern Arizona. “I just fell in love with the campus and the surrounding area; it’s beautiful out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to starting my studies in (kinesiology). I plan on picking up the hammer (event).”
Rounds’ personal best shot put throw measured 57 feet, 11 inches at the North Coast Section Tri-Valley meet the week before the Meet of Champions.
As a discus thrower, his best mark was set on April 16 at the Mudville Invitational in Stockton, when he reached 160 feet, 1 inch.
“He’s done an outstanding job,” said Heritage head coach Kevin Bain. “When he came to us as a junior, he was already somewhat accomplished, but not to the level of where he is right now. All the hard work he put in over the summer and sacrificing his football season this year has really helped his throwing.”
Kicenski will join Rounds in Clovis this weekend after a high jump of 6-5 earned him third place at the NCS Meet of Champions and a slot in the state meet. His best jump actually came as a junior at the Mudville Challenge, when he cleared the bar at 6-6. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, Kicenski also competed in the triple jump and long jump before focusing on the high jump.
“He’s been one of the hardest-working athletes here,” Freedom head coach Glenn Briggs said. “He took leadership and has helped a couple of freshmen and sophomores, taught them how to jump a little bit.”
Kicenski, who also gave up basketball to become a high jumper exclusively, was accepted by Chico State the same day he cleared the bar at 6-4 in the West Valley/Chico Invitational, held at the campus in April.
“I feel like I’ve done good over the past four years,” Kicenski said, “and been really productive while still having fun and enjoying myself.”