HELENA — “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
So stated Star Trek’s Captain James Kirk, referring to his starship Enterprise’s mission. But the saying could also apply to the accomplishments of Capital High’s multisport athlete, Justin Jenks.
Or at least where no Helenan has gone before.
After achieving the Triple Crown — earning all-state in all three of his sports in the same school year — capped off by the Capital City’s first double shot put and discus state track championships in 47 years, Jenks is the Independent Record’s Boys High School Athlete of the Year.
“It’s a tremendous honor to earn this award and be named the IR prep athlete of the year,” said the soft spoken Jenks, who was also the IR’s Track & Field Male Athlete of the Year.
He concluded his prep career with 10 varsity letters, and five all-state citations.
Jenks started out last fall by garnering his second straight first-team all-state football selection at defensive end. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder led the team with 10 sacks and 15 hurries. He was also No. 3 (tie) with six tackles for loss, and fourth at 72 solo tackles.
For his career, Jenks compiled 20 sacks, 10 TFL, 24 hurries and 156 total tackles.
“Justin Jenks embodies what makes Capital High great and a great place to work,” CHS football coach Kyle Mihelish said. “He’s a hard worker, coachable, and a loyal young man to the ‘Bruin Family.’ He’s never complained, only done the best he could; he’s never made excuses, he has set goals and reached them.
Justin goes down as one of Capital’s greats at defensive end, and a better example of how to conduct yourself as a young man.”
On the wrestling mat, competing against more experienced grapplers, Jenks fashioned a nice 23-16 record in the heavyweight division for the Bruins.
He placed third at the Western Divisionals, and fifth at the all-class tournament in Billings.
“Justin is a blue collar scrapper, he came to practice and the mat every day and was very physical,” wrestling coach Jeff Mahana said. “He started wrestling as a freshman to become better at football, and in the end was a very dominant competitor for us, which is a testament to his physical gifts and work ethic.”
Then came the track and field season.
After setting school records in both the shot put and discus last year — while becoming Capital’s first “60-160 Man” and garnering all-state medals in each event — this spring, Jenks pushed the outside of the envelope even farther.
He went undefeated in the shot, claiming the state title with a heave of 64-feet-3½. It was the longest throw in the state in 27 years, and he became just the third Montanan to best the 64-foot barrier.
Jenks pulled off the double when he captured the discus with a toss of 172-3. The week before he won divisionals with a meet record of 181-11, erasing Helena High’s Pat Donovan’s 1971 all-city mark of 176-10, as well.
“Justin's throw just kept on going, and going, and going,” CHS track coach Lon Carter said of Jenks’ Western AA discus toss. “He’s happy, I’m happy, his coaches are happy, his mother’s happy - everybody's happy. The kid did a great job, and (assistants) Tom Kain and John Joyce coached their butts off working with him.”
Jenks is also the first Capital City trackster to collect state championships in the shot and disc since Donovan turned the trick. So now time will tell if it takes another 47 years for someone else to duplicate the feat.