Caleb Jolivette is back for the 2017 high school track and field season with a vengeance.
Not that the Manvel High School senior all-purpose sprinter/jumper needed any further motivation. Yet he’s the consummate team player.
As fate would have it, Jolivette was dealt a bum hand by Mother Nature at the 2016 UIL state track and field meet when rainy weather forced him to compete in the long jump after running the 100-meter dash and on two relays (4X100, 4X200).
“He had to jump without any recovery time after running those races and he had nothing left,” said Kendrick Crumedy, head boys track coach at Manvel High School. “If he could have jumped that morning, it may have been a different story.
“A third or a fourth in the long jump would have distanced us from DeSoto or in the worst-case scenario we would have tied and been co-champs,” Crumedy said. “As it worked out, we came up four points short and had to settle for second place.”
It’s a fact that still doesn’t sit well with one of the state’s premiere performers.
“I came in with the ninth best jump in the state and I was so ready to prove that I was better than that,” Jolivette said. “Then the bad weather stepped in and there were so many delays. I ended up having heavy legs when it was time to jump.
“My coaches told me to try and enjoy the moment,” Jolivette said. “I didn’t want to let my teammates down because I knew we needed those points to win. I’m coming back stronger this year because those field-event points can help us win another state title. I’m taking it personal.”
Jolivette recently defeated a national field in the 60-meter dash at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Meet in New York. A time of 6.73 seconds earned him the gold medal.
At the 2017 Victor Lopez Classic at Rice University last weekend, Jolivette jumped a personal record 24 feet, three inches to win the long jump.
After mulling over scholarship offers from North Carolina, Michigan and Alabama among others, Jolivette chose Sam Houston State University in Huntsville because he’ll be allowed to play football and run track.
“To compete in New York against the best in the nation was an amazing experience,” Jolivette said. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.
“The other meets have gone pretty well this year. I had my [personal record] in the long jump this week and we had our best time [1:25.58] and became No. 1 in the U.S. in the 4X200 relay last week at the TSU Relays.”
Manvel won the Class 6A boys’ team track and field championship in 2015 and finished runner-up last year. This year the Mavericks will compete in Class 5A along with district rival and two-time defending state champion Fort Bend Marshall.
Jolivette will try to qualify for state in the same four events as last year – open 100, long jump, 4X100 and 4X200 relays.
“Caleb can do it all for us on the track,” Crumedy said. “He’s so coachable and he’s unselfish. He wants to help bring the glory to his teammates.”