BOZEMAN — As just a freshman for Bozeman Gallatin High School last year, Tesse Kamps took second in shot put and 10th in discus in the State AA track and field meet.
Now, she’s worked her way to the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Jacksonville, Florida that takes place this weekend.
“Once we kind of get the realization of how far we can actually throw that ball, that’s what’s going to bring out the best,” said her shot put coach Justin Jessop, who highlights that what makes Kamps so good is that she doesn't know great she actually is.
Kamps didn’t have an eighth grade track season. She showed up in 2021 as a freshman to the brand new Gallatin High and she wowed Jessop right away. He saw the untapped potential and didn't believe her when she said how young she was.
“She said she was a freshman, I denied that and then she confirmed she was 14 and her friends confirmed that as well," Jessop said. " Needless to say I got a little bit excited.”
Every practice this year Kamps was getting better and better. Although she didn’t win state, she finished with a top Class AA throw of the year with 38 feet, nine inches in the shot put.
“I was in the low 30s at the beginning of the year and then something clicked and then just popped a 38 -- kept going 38,” she said.
According to Jessop, the sky's the limit for the young thrower. She’s already throwing far and they’re still working on different techniques.
“At the the beginning of the season she went 32 (feet), I said she was going 38. When she went 38, I said she’s going to 40. I’m going to say she’s going to go 50 by the time she’s a senior,” he said.
Fifty feet would put her as one of the top throwers in the country. This weekend in Jacksonville, Kamps said she’s excited to face much tougher competition. After winning so much in recent competitions, she found herself not living up to her standards, playing down to the competition.
“I just kept winning and then I kind of stepped down to their level and that didn’t help," Kamps said. "Having a higher level is going to help me a lot though.”
Kamps is excited about all the doors the sport is opening for her and she has bigger goals than just being a top thrower in the state of Montana.
“I’m hoping that my career can go further on through college and then hopefully just maybe the Olympic trials in a few years," said Kamps.