Winning IL Titles & Having Fun Is On Mason Kooi's Agenda

* Mason Kooi of Springfield Lutheran (IL) talks with MileSplit before his Illinois Boys State Championships 

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Mason Kooi remembers starting his track and field journey in the fifth grade where he explored his talents in the jumps, 800m and sprints. Now as a senior from Springfield Lutheran (IL), he finds himself in his final Illinois State Championships ready and excited to defend his high and triple jump titles. 

"[I'm looking forward to] having fun," Kooi told MileSplit recently. "I've gotten everything I needed to get done accomplished when it comes to proving stuff. So I'm just here to have fun at this point and jump one last time." 

After winning and qualifying for states in the high, long and triple jumps at the IHSA Class 1A Sectional meet, his focus shifted to the task ahead. The agenda for the weekend is to enjoy the competition and raise the bar in the high jump.

In his opener of the season, Kooi cleared 7-0 at the Riverton Sports Complex to be Illinois No. 1 and US No. 8. For Kooi, he remembered that day like it was yesterday.

"Man, it was surreal," Kooi said. "I relieve that moment quite a few times."

Now at his final state championships, Kooi has the 1A state meet record of 7-1.50, which was set back in 2016 by Darryl Sullivan, on his mind. 

Alongside the high jump, Kooi feels that he can excel in the horizontal jumps at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston this weekend. So far this season, he's long jumped 22-1 and triple jumped 43-5.25 this spring. 

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