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Published: Sunday, 5/24/2009

Soaring high: Kynard wins showdown with Joplin

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Rogers' Erik Kynard and Southview's Shaun Joplin provided a crowd of a few hundred at St. Francis de Sales High School Saturday afternoon with some rare-air histrionics.

The two limber-legged seniors met for a much-anticipated high jump showdown at the Division I district championships.

Both jumped at least seven feet, with defending state champion Kynard scaling 7 feet, 1 inch on his third and final attempt at the height to claim his fourth straight district championship. Few prep meet crowds witness one jumper clear seven feet; fewer see multiple high jumpers clear seven feet on the same day.

Joplin scaled seven feet on his first try to make things interesting for Kynard, the state record-holder (7-3 1/2) and favorite to win another state title.

Kynard passed on seven feet and raised the bar to 7-1, which proved to be the winning height. After two misses at the height, he proved clutch on the last one.

Craig Short of Rogers, left, grabs the baton from teammate Adrian Awls in the 1600 relay. Craig Short of Rogers, left, grabs the baton from teammate Adrian Awls in the 1600 relay.
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"Whether it's by an inch or a mile, a win is a win," said Kynard, who broke his one-year old meet record by two inches.

"I should have gone 7-1, but Kynard is a better high jumper than me," said Joplin, who failed on three tries at 7-2 after passing on 7-1.

"He's a great athlete. I'm just hoping to compete with him again at the regionals.

"I thought I had a chance to win the whole time."

The Kynard-Joplin showdown was one of several crowd-pleasing moments that took place Saturday.

St. John's Jesuit's Cody Riffle and Kevin Yarnell rose to the occasion while also leading the Titans to a third straight district championship. Riffle recorded a meet and personal-record toss of 62-10 3/4 to win the shot put title to go along with winning the discus (181-5, personal and meet record) on Thursday. Yarnell pulled off a sweep of the 800 and 1600 with winning times of 1:53.32 and

4:24.55, respectively.

Anthony Wayne's Erika Schmidt takes first in the 200. Anthony Wayne's Erika Schmidt takes first in the 200.
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The Titans finished with 102 points while Rogers placed second with 93, followed by Whitmer 75, Bowsher 65 and Southview 56, to round out the top five boys teams.

"This one was a lot harder," St. John's coach Steve Spenthoff said. "It was a pretty grueling two days for us because of injuries."

Anthony Wayne's Ashley Zaper and Erika Schmidt led the Generals girls team to its third straight district championship by combining for five individual district titles. Zaper, winner of three events, sparked the team championship by finishing first in the long jump with a personal-best and meet-record effort of 18-7 1/2. She also swept the 100 hurdles (14.98) and 300 hurdles (44.79), while Schmidt won easily in the 100 (12.10) and 200 (24.92).

AW scored 121 points while Bowsher finished a distant second with 84 points, followed by Notre Dame 69, Southview 58 and Central Catholic 56 to account for the top five girls teams.

Besides competing in the high jump, Kynard's day included running in both hurdles events. He won the 110 hurdles (14.96) to give him three district titles after winning the long jump on Thursday with a meet record effort of 24-3. Again, he had been pushed by Joplin, who finished second with a jump of 24 feet.

Southview's Bernard Pinckney collected two titles by sweeping the 200 (22.20) and 400 (49.07) while Scott's Armon Richardson won the 100 (11.06).

Northview's Jacob Barnes won the 3200 (9:47.28) with St. John's Gregory Turissini finishing a close second (9:47.38). Lima Shawnee's Andrew Risser won the pole vault (14-4) and Northview's J.B. Bowens streaked to victory in the 300 hurdles (39.22).

The Rogers boys won the 800 relay (1:30.38) and 1600 relay

(3:22.94). St. Francis claimed victory in the 400 relay (43.70) and St. John's finished first in the 3200 relay (8:06.05).

AW coach Jim Lopez credited his team for another strong district showing in the girls field.

"I'm proud of them," Lopez said. "I love them and I have a lot of respect for them. They blend in and get along with each other really well."

Scott's Shatora Lewis completed her two-day dominance by winning the discus (138-8) after claiming victory on Thursday in the shot put (43-63/4).

Notre Dame's Lauren Duncan and Ashley Aberl claimed first and second place in the 1600 with times of 5:24.50 and 5:27.20, respectively. Whitmer's Samantha Gwin claimed victory in the 400 (57.16), and Northview's Allison Work won the 800 (2:18.86).

Northview's Meredith Wagner finished first easily to win the 3200 (11:14.47).

AW's Udoka Okoro cleared 5-3 to win the high jump. and Clay's Meghan Scharer won the pole vault (9-4).

Bowsher claimed victory in the 800 relay (1:40.80) and 400 relay (48.22). Notre Dame won the 1600 relay (4:01.32), and Central Catholic won the 3200 relay (9:42.10).

The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional meet taking place Wednesday and Friday at Amherst Steele High.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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