(Photo provided by Jebeh Cooke)
Jebeh Cooke will be a senior at North High School in North St. Paul, MN for the 2017-18 school year. She ran in her first individual event at the state level this past spring and came home with a nice fifth place finish in the 200 meter dash.
Also at the 2017 Girls Class AA State Track & Field Meet, Alexis Pratt (8th grade), Shaliciah Jones (9th grade,) Jebeh, and J'Ianna Cager (10th grade) won both the 4x100 and 4x200 relay races. That incredible group set and broke their own record in the meet in the 4x200 with times of 1:39.81 and 1:39.20! Their times in the 4x100 were 47.44 and 47.72. All four will return for another record attempt next spring.
In 2016, Cooke's 4x100 team ran at the state meet in the prelims; the 4x200 placed 8th in state. In 2015 when Jebeh was a freshman, the 4x100 ran in the prelims and the 4x200 finished in 9th place.
55m (in) - 7.95
100m - 12.55
200m (in) - 27.27
200m - 24.92
400m - 1:07.02
Long Jump - 14-1
Where were you born? Which sports did you start out in when you were young?
I was born in Liberia, Africa. My first sports were soccer, basketball and volleyball
Why did you get out of those sports? How did they help you become so fast?
I got out of basketball because my shin splints were bad and I couldn't do it anymore. Soccer became a problem for me because I got tired of running back and forth all the time which is hard for people to imagine since I still run. I loved volleyball but just decided to stop playing for some reason.
All three of the sports helped me become fast. I think basketball kind of helped because I had to be at both ends of the court fast no matter what, and soccer with the relentless running kind of helped with stamina.
What does Jamie Oliver emphasize the most with the relays? What does Todd Wallert do that helps out the sprinters?
When it comes to relays coach Oliver emphasizes to trust your teammate that they are fast enough to reach you in time. Coach Wallert helped out with blocks whenever coach Oliver wasn't there, and me personally whenever it looked like I couldn't keep going since I was semi-injured the whole season. He would tell me when to stop because I sometimes didn't know when to let up.
Was it hard to learn how to come out of the blocks? How did you finally learn how to do it effectively?
I honestly still struggle with blocks! It's crazy but I do what's comfortable for me, and I'm working on it so it can be perfect and powerful like my peers.
Sprinting does take a lot of technique. How did you learn the classic running form? What does coach Oliver emphasize?
I never really learned the technique from anywhere. I think it's natural for me. But keeping my chin tucked is something to be worked on. There is always something a sprinter can work on. Coach Oliver always stresses VIOLENT ARM SWINGS, because when that wind hits you your speed and form isn't all there is to it.