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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2008

Sidelines: Rogers Kynard looks to U.S. Olympic Trials

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Erik Kynard has his eyes set on the Division I state track meet and beyond.

The Rogers junior wants to stake claim on a state high jump title that has eluded him the last two springs.

But a recent indoor season full of highlight moments, including a personal record jump of 7 feet, 3 inches, has tweaked Kynard s perspective just a bit.

His jump met United States Olympic Trials qualifying marks, which puts him in elite company and eligible to compete at the trials to earn a spot on the team that will participate in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Only six others in the country amateur and professional have jumped higher this year. Jesse Williams, who jumps for Nike, owns the top mark this season by clearing 7-7 . Kynard is the only one of the group still in high school.

Kynard can t help but look forward to competing in the trials set for June 27-July 6 in Eugene, Ore.

I try not to think about it much, said Kynard, who cleared seven feet seven times during the winter indoor season. I m just trying to take it one meet at a time.

Rogers coach Eric Browning said Kynard s schedule will be limited during the high school season to avoid being overworked. Kynard, who is 6-foot-5, expects to compete in the hurdles events throughout the season. Browning said running hurdles ultimately benefits Kynard in the long jump.

It s going to be handled very carefully and very selectively, said Browning, of Kynard s high jump schedule. Any time there s bad weather you just have to let him take it off.

He really likes the hurdles and he s extremely coordinated and it s a good supplement for the high jump.

Of course, Kynard, who finished as D-I state runner-up in the high jump a year ago, expects to be focused on his favorite event by the time the state track meet takes place June 6-7 in Columbus.



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