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Century jumper sets school record, advances to state

By Pat Ruff

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

LAKEVILLE — The genesis of Emmanuel Marcellino’s head-turning Saturday can be traced to the first time he attempted a triple jump.

That was to begin last season. It was then that the fire was lit inside the Rochester Century senior and native of Sudan. Marcellino supplied the jump, 39 feet — sturdy stuff for a maiden voyage — and former Century coach James Robertson supplied the inspiration.

"When (Robertson) saw me go 39 feet last year, he told me that I could get the school record," Marcellino recalled.

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That was all he needed to hear. Marcellino has immersed himself into the event ever since, the pursuit of former Century star Bobby Osborn’s mark of 44-feet-6 always in mind.

That chase included daily trips to the YMCA all last summer, Marcellino trying to shape and tone his body to its explosive best. It also included a consult with a national-known jumping expert this spring, as well as some more recent tips from Century 2007 jumper Julian Chike.

Chike showed up at a Century practice two weeks ago, fresh off a freshman season of track and field at Indiana State. Chike was curious about how his old Century jumping teammates were shaping up. He also came sporting an idea or two taught him by the Indiana State coaches.

Along with the guidance of Century jumping coaches Kris Allen and Susan Lee, Chike encouraged Marcellino to change his steps in the triple jump, adding some to his take-off.

Put all of those things together — Marcellino having added 15 pounds of explosive muscle from a year ago, all of the listening and learning that he’s done the last year when it comes to the triple jump, plus that the weather had finally warmed to his liking — and the Century senior finally did it.

Saturday, in the state-qualifying Section One, Class AA meet at Lakeville South, Marcellino bounded for his best performance ever. It was also Century’s best ever, wiping out Osborn’s old mark. Marcellino sailed 45-feet-1 1/4. His previous best had been just over 44 feet. Not only did 45-1 1/4 easily give him the Century record, but also first place in the section meet. Lakeville North’s Trevor Jellum was second with a leap of 43 feet. The top two in each section event move on to the state meet this coming Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.

"When I found out I did (45-1 1/4), I was like, ‘Wow!’ " said Marcellino, who got it in the preliminaries, then skipped finals after slightly straining his knee, knowing a trip to state had already been secured.

Century coach Lee also said wow. But while she was pleasantly surprised by such a lofty distance, she wasn’t shocked by it. The fact is, she’d been waiting for something like this from Marcellino, who she rates among the team’s hardest and most devoted workers.

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"A jump like this from him was a long time in coming," she said with a smile. "Today, he just put it all together."

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