ROGERS (KFSM)--The best high jumper in Arkansas is four-time state champ Jake Benninghoff. Texas Tech has had the last three indoor national champions in the high jump, as well as the 2015 outdoor title. So it's only fitting that the Rogers senior committed to the Red Raiders.
"So I got the chance to meet Coach Thomas who is the jumps coach there and what he told me was, 'we're set on high jumpers, we're not in a need for them, but after watching your tape I really feel like you could do something special here'," Benninghoff said.
"Anytime you get a kid go to a division one school, that's just fun," Mounties head track and field coach Carlton Efurd said.
"They do have a great high jump tradition and just the fact that he got the invite to go out and look at it," added Rogers jumps coach Tony Roller.
Benninghoff's success begins with an unmatched work ethic and a division one mentality. "You always lose in high jump, the bar will always win. So the fact that you can keep pushing that bar further and further is what really drives me."
The senior finished fourth in March's New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York with a personal best jump of 6-10.75. Now, Benninghoff aims for the seven foot mark. Even though high jump wasn't always his first love like basketball, it's his versatility that has made him so successful.
"I encouraged him to get back into football. He had played football a lot earlier but kind of got out of that for a while. And I told him the football and the lifting weights and stuff would definitely help him," said Roller.
"The weights he did in the fall and just being in the other sports have helped him with that, getting that strength to get off the ground," Efurd said.
"The explosiveness I developed through football really helped me overcome the fatigue," Benninghoff said.
Whether playing football, basketball or jumping, the future is bright for the Mountie senior. He's won the last three Arkansas state indoor high jump titles and looks to reclaim the outdoor crown he wore as a sophomore.