By Steve Svetovich
All Region Holy Cross cross country runner Kevin Jumper came into this season with plenty of challenges and expectations.
And the Holy Cross senior scholar-athlete rose to the head of the table far ahead of the pack.
After winning all seven meets in the Lackawanna League Division III regular season, he was named Times-Tribune performer of the year.
Son of Colleen and Joe Jumper, he won the District 2 Class 1A title in 16:53 helping Holy Cross repeat as team champions. He placed second in the state in Class 1A PIAA Championships at 16:54.
With the graduation of Andrew Healey, last year’s boys Runner of the Year, Jumper was expected to become the top runner for the Crusaders.
As a junior at Holy Cross, he finished second to Healey in districts and earned a state medal by placing seventh in Class 1A. He was an All Regional selection last year.
“I knew I had a shot at repeating as All Regional,” said Jumper. “I knew it would be a challenge, but I focused on my own training and things went as planned.”
Alex Higley is the cross country coach at Holy Cross. “He teaches us a lot about the mental side of things,” said Jumper. “He teaches us to not take things too seriously and to stay relaxed and have fun.”
The talented senior said he has learned a lot from his parents too.
“My parents tell me not to stress out and enjoy what I am doing. They tell me to appreciate the love that comes my way.”
Jumper shook off the pressure and won all seven of Lackawanna League Division III meets by an average margin of 33 seconds. He set the school record of 16 minutes, 34 seconds against Dunmore at McDade Park this past September 24.
The four-year cross country runner will also be starting his fourth season on the Holy Cross track and field team this year. He runs the 3,200 and 1,600 and the 4 by 800 relay.
A member of the National Honor Society at Holy Cross, he is a member of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and the History Club. His best subject is Math and he has an impressive 3.9 grade point average. He is also a two-year member of the Holy Cross swimming team.
The stalwart runner said he is not sure where he will attend college, but wants to major in business administration and finance and continue his cross country and track and field career.
He talked about his future goals. “I want to go to a good college, continue running, do well in school and graduate. Then I may want to become a financial advisor.”
The All Regional Performer of the Year talked about what is takes to excel in cross country on the high school level.
“You need discipline and need to love the grind of getting out there everyday. You need to focus on preparation and repetition.”
At the District 2 Championships at Wyoming County Fairgrounds, he captured the District 1A individual title in 16:53 as Holy Cross repeated as Class 1A team champions.
At the PIAA Championships in Hershey, he placed second in the state in Class 1A in 16:54 which was 12 seconds behind two-time state champion and University of North Carolina commit Colton Sands of Penns Valley.
Jumper said he would like to see Khalid, a rhythm and blues pop artist, in concert.
He has enjoyed his experience at Holy Cross immensely. “All of the teachers and kids are always willing to help out in any way,” he said. “There is the perfect mix of athletics and academics here at Holy Cross. It is all I could ask for.”