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Senior Kivi helps Marana win meet

Marana's Michael Kivi competes in the long jump during Wednesday's track meet at Palo Verde High School.

Marana's Michael Kivi competes in the long jump during Wednesday's track meet at Palo Verde High School.

Marana High School track and field athlete Michael Kivi is having a big impact on his younger teammates.

Kivi had a strong day Wednesday, winning the triple jump (48 feet, 0 inches) while finishing second in the 200 meters (23.5 second) and third in the 100 (11.46) in a tri-meet against host Palo Verde and Rio Rico.

Marana first-year coach Matt Romanowski has taken notice of Kivi’s passion to compete and hopes it is passed down to the younger members of the team.

“It’s definitely good to have him around,” Romanowski said. “He is one of the senior leaders. It’s really good to have a kid that is very successful and that good of a leader. It really helps to build the foundation with us being so young.”

Kivi helped Marana (83) rout Rio Rico (48) and Palo Verde (42).

Last year, Kivi finished first in the Class 4A Division I state triple jump and this year is focused on repeating as champion.

“We lost a couple of guys off the team from last year, but I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I just hope that I perform well in the events that I do.”

He has the second longest triple jump (45-6) in the state at the Class 4A level this season. He trails Peoria’s Kenry Robinson by 3 inches.

“That is the level of excellence the (younger kids) can achieve if they work hard,” Romanowski said. “The younger kids can see what a hard worker is like. . . . To look at your name in the rankings as one of the top two in the state is pretty exciting.

“He is an all-around athlete. He can step into most things and he does well at it.”

Kivi, who played football for Marana, received a scholarship for that sport to Division II Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

“Track helps me stay in shape and I’ll get faster,” Kivi said. “I want to pass on (to the younger teammates) the tradition of hard work and doing well in everything you do.”

Marana (70) topped Palo Verde (50) and Rio Rico (37) in the girls meet Wednesday.

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