On May 12th at the University of Florida (UF), Jenkavia Harper, a senior at Key West High School (KWHS), achieved third in the 2A Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) track & field championships for girls javelin, an event where female participants run and throw an eight-foot spear as far as they can.
“I was grateful because I knew it was all gods doing,” explained Harper. “I felt beyond blessed [to be on the podium]. I’ve worked [on javelin] for a year and a half and have not finished [working] yet.”
At the state competition, Harper’s farthest distance thrown for javelin was 38.5 meters, which is now her personal record. Her strength and deep range at the FHSAA 2A championship allowed Harper to advance to the Track & Field Nationals at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) from June 16th through the 19th. The event will be hosted at the Franklin Field, UPENN’s track & field facility.
Not only have track & field been an outlet to provide Harper opportunities to show off her athletic abilities, but a way to be at peace with herself. “I am able to express my feelings and throw implements,” said Harper. “It’s actually very soothing to watch others throw. Everyone is positive and loving in this sport.”
Throughout her KWHS track & field journey, Michael Caldwell, the KWHS track & field throwing coach, and David Perkins, the KWHS track & field head coach and vice-principal have been with her every step of the way. They have endlessly supported Harper through her endeavors in this sport, and are thrilled to watch her compete with the best in the nation for girls javelin.
After high school, Harper will be attending Keiser University to major in sports medicine and kinesiology. While attending, Harper will also be a part of Keiser’s track & field program, advancing her skills in The Sun Conference (TSC), a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
“Track has helped me with college mentally and physically,” stated Harper. “Without track & field, I would have not been on a scholarship and would’ve given up on sports, and continued my firefighting and medic career.”
Throughout her high school experience, Harper would like to thank a few people for helping her achieve her goals along the way. “First, [I would like to thank God]. [I would also like to thank] my mom, my family, Coach Caldwell, and Coach Perkins,” disclosed Harper.