Deante Kemper represented the Northern Arizona University track and field team in the men’s high jump on day three of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Kemper finished tied for 24th place on Friday. Looking forward, the San Diego native will try to use this experience as motivation for next season.
“There was great competition here,” Kemper said. “I didn’t execute the way I should have, and I have to learn to prepare myself better mentally. This experience has lit a fire under me, and I just have a drive to be at the top next year. I want to be the athlete with the target on his back going into the competition.”
This year serves as the third consecutive trip to the NCAAs for Kemper. The junior was looking to improve on his performance in previous years to conclude a record-breaking season. Over the course of the indoor and outdoor season, Kemper broke both the indoor and outdoor high jump school records.
“Deante has come a long way in one year,” said graduate assistant coach Jade Ellis. “He had to adjust to a new coach, and we made some changes to his approach. He definitely showed some great improvement even though the year didn’t end the way we would have liked.”
The Lumberjacks will be back in action today as Caleb Hoover is set to compete in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final, scheduled to begin at 2:57 p.m.
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The Sporting News preseason poll has been released, with the NAU football team in the 20th spot out of 25 teams.
Eastern Washington, a fellow Big Sky Conference school, earned the top ranking.
The Lumberjacks, who finished second in the Big Sky Conference last season, ended the 2013 season ranked 15th in The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls.
Last season, NAU ranked as high as No. 8 in The Sports Network poll and No. 9 in the FCS Coaches poll, respectively.
The Lumberjacks finished the regular season undefeated at home and, for the first time since 1996, recorded a 9-2 record. Under head coach Jerome Souers, the Jacks snapped a 10-year drought from the FCS playoffs after earning an at-large bid versus South Dakota State in the first round.