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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Just for Kicks: Jennings embraces dual role

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  • RIPLEY - Ripley High School student-athlete Caleb Jennings is quite busy this time of year. Much like a factory worker or a carpenter, he is working overtime.
    Jennings stars as he goalkeeper for the Ripley High Soccer team and also pulls double duty as a punter and kicker for the Viking football team.
    The senior Viking is up for the challenge as his performance on the field indicates.
    It isn’t all about kicking for Caleb. He is active off of the playing field and in the classroom.
    He is a member of the National Honor Society, is currently Ranked seventh in senior class, he is a member of MU Alpha Beta (Math Honor Club),  biology II Student of the Year(Junior Year),  he has four Advanced Placement classes this year, two AP classes last year, he has accumulated 12 college credit hours with the potential to graduate with  38 college credit hours.
    Jennings is a member of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) and was asked to compete in the national competition in Anaheim California in the field of travel and tourism.
     The Viking booter has been named “Viking of the Week” multiple times in Jackson Newspapers for his contributions on special teams.
    “Soccer is my first love but I am glad my Dad (Kevin) encouraged me to play football. I will always remember my first kickoff against Parkersburg South (2012),” said Jennings.
    He isn’t just a strong leg for the Viking football team. Jennings picked up a first down for the Vikings on a fake punt versus Spring Valley earlier this season. The Viking has notched seven touchbacks and averages 34.8 yards per punt with a long punt of 65.
    “Caleb has been a weapon for us. He has a college level leg that I hope he gets to showcase in football or soccer at the next level,” said Ripley football coach David Tennant.
    On the gridiron, Jennings handles punting and kickoff duties while his friend and teammate Easton Berry has field goal and extra point kicking responsibilities.
    They also share the net on the soccer field as Berry, also a multi-sport standout who can play multiple positions, backs up his bud as the team’s goalie.
    Jennings has made 220 saves for his team this season this season. He has notched 18 twice versus Woodrow Wilson and Sissonville.
    Plans for college are in the works and Caleb will major in bio/chemistry and is considering medical school.
    “I would like to kick in college in some capacity, regardless of the sport.”
    Ripley High boys soccer coach Tim has watched Jennings grow and mature with his own eyes.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Caleb has progressed so much this year. His dedication and extra work in the off-season has paid dividends. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with this young man,” said Ross.
    There are others who contributed to Caleb’s overall success. “My parents (Kevin and Tonya) have always supported whatever I wanted to do. Current and former coaches have done so much for me. Brian Johnson (Ripley graduate and former University of Kentucky kicker/graduate) has been a big influence and help to me. I am thankful to the Lord for all of the opportunities I have been given,” said Jennings. “Ms. Heckerts classes (AP biology, AP chemistry, AP environmental) and all of my friends have made some of my favorite memories in high school,” he added.
    Regardless of where Caleb chooses to continue his education, he most certainly will be working overtime.

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