Sometimes when Lee’s Summit North junior Devon Richardson sees his father, Mike, he gives him a friendly bump.
Then he points out how much taller than he is than his father.
“When I do that, he reminds me that he’s my dad,” Richardson said while chuckling. “He was a short guy back in the day. He always showed pictures of him competing back in the day.”
Richardson is 6-foot-3 and is one of the top triple and high jumpers in the state. His father was a triple jumper for Grandview in the past and was only 4-foot-11 as an underclassman and 5-foot-6 as a senior.
Richardson has had more success than his father as he has the highest jump in the state (6 feet, 10 inches) and has the seventh longest triple jump at 47-2.5, which set a school record.
“I got close to it during the KU Relays,” Richardson said of the school’s triple jump record. “Then I thought, ‘Man. I have to get this.’ I was sitting in eighth place and I gave it all I got at the end, and I was able to break it.
“I am pretty close to breaking the school record in the high jump. I want to get it at state, but if I don’t, there is always next year.”
The junior, who also played basketball, decided to concentrate just on track and field this year as he competed in indoor meets with the Kansas City Elite track and field club during the fall and winter.
“I took a year off from basketball because I know track will be a my bread and butter to get scholarship money,” he said. “ I might play next year though just to have fun with the guys.”
Turns out that competing in track early in the school wonders for Richardson, who helped lead his team to a first-place finish at the Class 5 Sectional 4 meet last Saturday as it edged previously unbeaten Blue Springs 139-133. It was the first time the Wildcats didn’t win a meet since 2012. The junior was a big part of that as he won the high jump at 6-8 and the triple jump at 46-7.
“I just wanted to do my part, so when the guys see I do my part, they do theirs,” Richardson said. “Before the meet coach told us, ‘You have to beat Blue Springs! You’ve got to beat Blue Springs!’ It felt good to win that one.”
Added Davis: “(Richardson) had a solid effort. What he did was important to us. Without Devon, It’s going to take everyone. He’s a gamer. I am not worried about him.”
When Richardson was in fourth grade he competed in the 400-meter run and the 800. A few years later, he tried the high jump in middle school. He cleared a height of 5 feet, 5 inches at the time and knew that would be his strongest event moving forward.
Davis credits Richardson’s speed and height for his success in the high jump.
“We worked on his approach this year and he runs faster,” Davis said. “You usually just trot to the bar instead of running to the bar. And he’s jumping higher.”
Last season, Richardson tried the triple jump at the suggestion of his father. Next season, Richardson said he hopes he can compete in the long jump, as well.
“Since college jumpers usually do all three, I want to do the long jump,” he said. “I want to start now instead of waiting until college. I haven’t really competed in it for outdoor competition because I never really did that good.”
But in the short term, Richardson has the state meet to think about..
“Hopefully I have it all going for state,” said Richardson, who is aiming for state championships in his events. “I’ll just keep working at in practice and it should all come together and hopefully I will come out on top.”