DRAKE RELAYS: Drake raises the bar for local leapers

DES MOINES – It doesn’t take long to see how much the bar is raised at the Drake Relays.

With the boys’ high jump competition starting a height of 6 feet, 1 inch, this year’s group of 24 competitors realized that fact instantly.

Marshalltown senior Brady Arment couldn’t quite get into his rhythm early enough and came up short in his three attempts at 6-3 to finish 18th at 6-1 Friday at the 105th Drake Relays at Drake Stadium.

“I’m used to starting out at 5-8 or 5-10,” Arment said. “It just helps to get my legs warmed up and gives me some confidence to get over the first couple times.”

After two misses at the opening height, Arment came through on his third attempt.

“I was a little nervous but I knew I could get it,” he said. “The first two I took off a little too early. I almost got the 6-3 but I kind of hit it with my hand on the last one.”

Four other jumpers dropped out after 6-1 but had fewer misses than Arment.

GMG’s Brock Fisher never got his steps right and was one of four jumpers that missed the starting standard and didn’t place. Still recovering from a right ankle injury sustained three weeks ago, the Wolverine senior was also without his measuring tape to mark out his steps for his approach.

Fisher borrowed a shorter measuring tape, but was forced to use some guesswork for his marks.

“The measuring tape wasn’t long enough so my steps weren’t measured out fully,” Fisher said. “I just kind of guessed where the steps would be but it didn’t really work out.”

Arment and Fisher both made their Drake Relays debuts with a qualifying height of 6-4 – the same mark for 11 of the competitors.

West Burlington’s Jeff Giannettino topped out at 7-0 to lead the pack, while teammate Xavior Williams finished third at 6-8. Johnston’s Jared Seay also reached 6-8 but had fewer misses than Williams, while seven jumpers finished at 6-5.

Arment steadily got better with his technique at 6-3 where his hand caught the bar on his last jump, though he still had a few things to work on.

“His best jump was his last one,” MHS coach Mark Chardoulias said. “He just wasn’t working his head well enough to raise his hips. That’s always a key part with him on whether he can get that head back. When he gets it back he usually clears because he’s got a good spring in his legs.”

Chardoulias also said some additional warm-up jumps will probably help Arment in adjusting to higher starting heights. And with the state qualifier meet at Leonard Cole Field, the senior Bobcat will have a little home field advantage in getting ready for competition.

“Maybe we can get him a little more warmed up with some more jumps early on,” Chardoulias said. “Districts is at our place so he can jump a little at some lower heights before they get going. He can get good and loose.”

For Fisher, he hopes to be good and ready with his measuring tape and a fully healed right ankle come state-qualifier time.

The GMG senior, who estimated his health at 90 percent, high jumped for just the second time since his injury with a height of 6-2 Thursday at the Comet Relays, while also competing in a couple short relays.

“I think (the injury) hindered him a little bit,” GMG coach Mike Pierson said. “We know it’s coming along, we just hope he can get it fully healthy again.

“He made 5-10 in warm-ups but he just didn’t feel real comfortable with his approach. … We’ve made 6-4 before and we’re hoping we can get back there, but the injury has certainly slowed us down a bit.”

Notebook

Fisher was one of five Class 1A competitors in the fieldTwo qualifiers did not compete in the event, leaving the field at 18 after the opening height.