Jamie Kempton started his education in the Nanuet School system and then attended Albertus Magnus High School. It was there that he discovered his love for running. From 1972 till he graduated in 1976 Jamie participated all three seasons on either the cross country or winter and spring track teams. During that time Jamie earned nine varsity letters, three each in his sophomore, junior and senior years. In cross country Jamie was a two time first team all-county runner. The three years that Jamie ran on the varsity cross country team, they won the Rockland County and Section Nine titles every year. In 1974 and 1975 the Albertus Magnus cross country teams were the New York State Class B State champions. The 1974 team was also the Eastern States Champions and was ranked as the number two high school cross country team in the United States.
Jamie headed off to Bucknell University to study English in 1976. While attending Bucknell, Jamie found time to become a four year varsity letter winner in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, and still graduate Magna Cum Laude. The cross country team at Bucknell won four East Coast Conference championships and twice made it to the NCAA Division One race, finishing seventeenth both times.
After his collegiate career was over, in 1980, Jamie continued to compete in running races and is still competing today. Jamie has calculated that he has raced over 112,000 miles in his life. That’s more than four times around the world! Jamie has won 108 races, finished second 85 times and third 58 times. He has finished in the top ten in 116 other races. Jamie is a 14 time Empire Games medalist and a four time champion. He has won the Rockland County half marathon six times, the Helen Hayes Classic four times, and the Hook Mountain half marathon six times. Jamie also finished in the top ten of the Rockland Alumni Cross Country Run a record twenty times. On the national level, Jamie was the runner-up in 1999 at the National Masters (over 40) Indoor Track Championships in the 3000 meter run and fourth at the National Masters Cross Country 5K Championships.
Jamie is perhaps best known to the public for his work in the sports department of The Journal News. From 1983 to 1995 Jamie covered high school track and cross country for the paper. His knowledgeable and extensive coverage of the sport was praised by the coaches and runners alike.
During his tenure with The Journal News, Jamie also covered such major events as the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 in New Orleans, the USATF National Indoor Championships, The New York City Marathon, The Penn Relays, and The Millrose Games. In 1992 Jamie was awarded fourth place in the National Associated Press Sports Editors Writing Competition for the best sports story for 13 newspapers with under 50,000 circulation. That particular article was a first-person account of running with a disabled runner in the 1992 New York City Marathon. Jamie could also be found covering other high school sports. It wasn’t unusual to see him on the sidelines of a football game or in a gymnasium covering a basketball game or wrestling tournament. His articles were always accurate, fair and entertaining to the readers.
When one spends so much time in and around a sport as Jamie did, it’s only logical that he would end up coaching. Jamie’s first stint was as an assistant coach in his hometown of Nanuet in the cross country and track programs in 1984-85. He later took over the head coaching job at Nanuet in boys’ and girls’ cross country and spring track from 1995-1997. Jamie started the Tuxedo High School boys cross country team in 1998 and was the head coach of the boys’ and girls’ indoor and spring track teams in1998 and 1999 at his alma mater, Albertus Magnus. Jamie is currently the head coach of the St. Thomas Aquinas College men’s and women’s cross country, winter and spring track programs.
While coaching, Jamie’s teams did very well. His Nanuet girls’ cross country team were two time runner-up in the Section One Class B Championships in 1995 and 1996 and were second in the Rockland County Championships in 1996. Individually Jamie coached Ricky Gross of Albertus to a New York State and Eastern States Championship in the 110 meter hurdles and coached a two time New York State runner-up Erin Haugh of Nanuet in the 1500 and 3000 meters.
Jamie is a former member of the Rockland County Hall of Fame Selection and Steering Committee. He currently is on the Nanuet, Albertus Magnus, and Rockland County Track Halls of Fame. This fourth generation Rocklander still lives in Nanuet and can be seen running the roads frequently.