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Published: Saturday, 7/5/2008

Kynard enjoys moment at Olympic trials

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Erik Kynard went to the U.S. Olympic track and field trials expecting to enjoy every moment of his experience.

And that's exactly what the Rogers High School senior-to-be did - even though he came up short of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kynard, the only participant in the high jump still in high school, cleared the competition's opening height of 7 feet,

1/2 inch on his third attempt before failing to clear 7-2 1/2 on three attempts.

The 17-year-old's performance late Thursday at the biggest meet of his career was nothing to be disappointed about, according to Rogers coach Eric Browning.

"It's been a great experience for him," said Browning, who, along with Kynard's parents and Rogers assistant coach Brad Hathaway, made the trip to the meet held at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

Kynard, who won Ohio's Division I state high jump championship approximately a month ago, met his goal of at least clearing the opening height at the trials. He didn't want to return with a "no-height" summing up his experience.

He went into the meet thinking the competition would start with an opening height of 6-10, not more than 7 feet.

"When we found out it was going to start at 7 feet it was a surprise," said Browning, reached by telephone. "I was really tight after he didn't get over on the first two attempts, but when he went over on the third it was great."

Browning said the jump was Kynard's best outdoor effort this year.

He qualified for the trials by clearing 7-3 3/4 during an indoor meet at the University of Findlay in January.

Kynard fell short of topping his best outdoor effort once the bar was raised two inches.

"He came very close on two of his attempts," Browning said.

Kynard will not be making plans to go to Beijing next month, but he is leaving directly from the trials and is headed to Poland to compete in the Junior World Championships. He, along with Napoleon's Ryan Fleck, will represent the United States in the high jump competition at the international meet scheduled to take place next week.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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