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University of Washington junior Parker Kennedy runs ahead of an opponent at the MPSF Championships Saturday, Feb. 29 in Seattle.

A Hood River Valley High School alum made it into the University of Washington heptathlon record books after competing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Track and Field Championship Feb, 28-29. With a final score of 5,487, Parker Kennedy moved up to second place in school history.

Jeremy Taiwo holds the school record at 6,156 set back in 2013.

Parker attributes his achievement to long practice hours and an interest in heptathlons since high school.

“I started doing the decathlon in high school and then got recruited by UW to pole vault, but then started doing the multi-events there,” Kennedy said. “Over the last two years, I’ve been training really hard in the heptathlon, indoors, and in the decathlon, outdoors. We train speed and power because most of the events are speed and power. Multi-event people who do the decathlon and heptathlon definitely have to stick around for longer hours to practice the different technique events because it’s a lot of technical work.”

On the first the day of the event, Kennedy leaped his personal best in the long-jump at 23 feet and seven-and-a-half inches. The Huskie also set a personal record in the shotput with a toss of 42 feet and 11-and-a-half-inches.

In the second day of the event, the junior won and set a personal record in the 1,000-meter run at 2:38. He also hurdled the bar in the pole vault at 15-feet-nine-inches.

“It was pretty exciting (placing in second),” Kennedy said. “The guy who has the number one spot is an Olympian and had the world record in the high jump in the decathlon. He’s a volunteer coach right now.”

This event wrapped up the indoor season and Kennedy was set to begin the outdoor season until UW canceled all sporting events and practices until June 5.

“Right now, our whole season is canceled, and we’ll know if we can practice as a team at the end of this month,” Kennedy said. “Now it’s kind of hard to stay fully engaged in practicing and working out. But I’m just doing my usual daily training plan that I’ve been doing on my own. Hopefully we can find some meet to do outside of NCAA competition. It’s been hard to have put in a bunch of work and be shooting for big goals and have this year’s opportunity taken away. It’s put everyone in a confused, depressed state.”

With the extra time on his hands, Kennedy said he’ll take a closer look as to where he needs to improve his game, focus on mental health and not let public health concerns worry him too much.

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