Athlete of the Issue: Nene Mokonchu


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Nene Mokonchu won the state championship in the high jump at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Indoor State Championships this past winter.

What went into your decision to compete in the high jump?
How long have you been competing?

I did CYO Track as a kid and first stumbled upon high jump as a way to get out of running ( I was a natural runner due to playing soccer all my life, and as a result would get roped into tedious workouts). Even though I began high jump at around 6th grade, I really started to have fun with it in 9th grade, when hitting higher heights felt like putting on a performance.
How much training is required to compete at the level you need to achieve your goals?

If you show out at least 3 days a week during in-season and at least once a week during off-season, you’ll be able to find what I call the “magic spot” in high jump — when you’ve learned how to run your curve with your specific style, practice raising your hips and snapping your legs, and of course staying level-headed at higher heights. So I’d say that being at the mat isn’t a daily necessity, but that comes with getting the little things right and valuing consistency.

What was the state championship meet like?

It was so much fun! I went in with confidence and hungry for a 5’8 PR at the very least, and by God’s grace got it done. That’s really important- being able to laugh and be light when performing at high levels, it’s the only way to truly see progression and passion simultaneously.

Are you planning to continue competition in college? What events do you want to compete in?

Yes, I am! I plan to do the high jump (of course), as well as the 400m dash. I may even consider multis!

Where are you planning to go to college and what academic studies do you want to pursue?

I plan on going to Brown University to forge the pre-law track, majoring in political science, dabbling in Africana studies and taking on whatever else the Open Curriculum takes me to!

What are your goals for the spring track season?

I want to be able to trust God’s plan, no matter how high or low my life seems at this point. I also look forward to being of aid to the coaches, a light to my teammates, and a person of value to those who really need it. Last but not least, I’m eagerly looking forward to at least hitting the 6 foot mark- an achievement that is possible through humility, trusting in my faith, and just having fun.