jumper double winner
By Jeff Febus
When Jon Hutchful arrived at Calvin College, he knew he had the potential to win an MIAA championship in the triple jump.
“I had looked at the marks that the jumpers in the league had gone the year before, and I knew I could go farther,” said Hutchful. “I had already jumped farther in high school, so I thought I had the chance to win a (MIAA) championship.”
A native of the West African country of Ghana, Hutchful had competed in track and field before at the high school level. “I started triple jumping in high school, and I also threw the javelin and ran on a relay team,” he said. “Track and field in high school was a lot different than college. We only practiced twice a week, and it was not taken as serious as it is here.”
Hutchful’s first year of track and field at Calvin was cut short because of injury, curtailing his chance at making a run for a league title. As a sophomore in 2001, Hutchful took second in the triple jump at the MIAA Championships. In 2002 and 2003 he reached his goal, winning the MIAA triple-jump title both years.
Despite struggling with injuries, Hutchful still managed to leap beyond 46 feet both years, and he credits head coach Jong-Il Kim—a former international triple and long jumper—for his improvement.
“Coach Kim makes you feel special as an athlete,” said Hutchful. “He makes you realize that you have a talent that you can develop. He pushes us in practice, but in the long run the hard work pays off.”
A member of the All-MIAA track and field team in 2002 and 2003, Hutchful was also a part of four MIAA-championship men’s track and field teams at Calvin.
“To be a part of a team that wins a championship is a special feeling,” said Hutchful. “When you know you can help your team win a championship, you get an extra boost of adrenaline. It helps you forget any pain that you might have from an injury.”
Hutchful has also found joy with other aspects of student life at Calvin by participating in Calvin’s annual international arts show Rangeela. Hutchful participated in a dance group and also as a singer in an African house band.
“Rangeela has been wonderful, and singing in the house band this past year was a great experience,” he said. “We sing a lot of West African praise music, and it allows us to express a part of what it is like to be in our home countries.”
Hutchful graduated from Calvin this past May with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration, becoming the second member of his family to graduate; his older brother David graduated from Calvin two years ago.
“I’m looking for a job in human resources or an entry level managerial position,” said Hutchful. “I’d like to get some work experience and then possibly go on to graduate school.”
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