When Newton sophomore Jeremiah Holloman placed fifth in the triple jump last year, he did so in disappointment to himself. Malik Franklin a former triple jump state champion for Newton, had been teasing Holloman about it in effort to motivate him. Franklin has a record distance of 48-10 and it’s the record Holloman has been shooting for since the beginning of the season.
Newton head track and field coach Kevin Barnes says Holloman jumped a distance of 48 feet so they assumed the record would be easy...that is until Holloman injured his knee at sectionals.
“After the injury, the only thing we did was rest. We just rested,” Barnes said. “We looked at the competition coming into state, nobody in 6A had even jumped over 47 feet. We knew we could get 47 feet on a bad day. So our biggest thing was just getting him rested up because of course he won the triple jump, but Jeremiah qualified in two other jumping events which he placed in the top-eight in.”
Still injured, Holloman went out and jumped for a distance of 47-05.50 in the triple long jump to claim the state title.
“Jeremiah has that will, that will to just win,” Barnes said. “He went out there and I could tell his first couple of jumps he was a little bit timid trying to feel the pressure from that injury buckling his knee. But after that first long jump we knew that state was his in that triple jump. That’s his bread and butter.”
“Before I got the chance to be invited to state I was training hard from the weight room because last year I finished in fifth place so I just had big expectations to win state this year because it’s not a good feeling to lose. So I just trained everyday with coach [Marcus] Taylor and we got stronger at everything. It became my success story,” Holloman added humbly.
“When I found out I was No. 1, I felt great. It was like having straight A’s and you went out the best way you could,” Holloman said.
Holloman is one of the hardest working athletes at Newton. You’d probably expect most athletes to sit down, rest or enjoy the fruits of their labor after winning state, especially at such a young age. But not Holloman.
Since winning state, Holloman has only increased his workload. After regular workouts at school, Holloman goes to LA Fitness with coach Taylor to continue to build his body and work on his craft.
Together they do several workouts including tire lifts, squats in the pool, hurdle drills and pretty much anything he can do to strengthen his legs.
“When practice is over, he still wants to get on the grind to perfect his craft,” Barnes said about Holloman’s extreme work ethic.
Holloman is training for the youth olympics now. He’s gotten offers from a few schools, and that’ll only increase as he gets better.
“This will not be his last state championship. I can guarantee you that,” Barnes said.
“I’m going back for two-time champ,” Holloman said, speaking on his goals for next year.
Holloman, who the team has nicknamed “30 for 30” because at any given meet they’ll walk into it with 30 points because of Holloman, says he was able to get his first title through hard work and preparation.
“He put this team on his back this year,” Barnes said. “When I say we scored 32 points at the state meet, 16 of them was Jeremiah’s.”
Holloman didn’t get the school record he set out for, but the team “nobody’s going to work harder than us” motto resonates the most with him. If there was a symbol for it, it’d be him.
“It’s a real blessing to have a guy like that on your team,” Barnes said.
“This is just the beginning of a great career here in track and in football. I’m also his receivers coach so I get to coach him on that aspect also, and he’s the same guy. He’s a hard worker, wants to be the best. His drive to be the best is why he’s here right now,” Barnes added. “I remember when he first got here as a freshman and we talked and I told him, ‘You might be one of the highest recruits to leave Newton High School,’ and he’s well off on that journey because he’s working hard and he’ll be there.”