Odds were against Glenwood Springs high jumper
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
LAKEWOOD, Colorado ” Donnie Jennert grazed the high jump bar with his body, dropping it to the mat right along with him.
Paralyzed by disappointment, the Glenwood Springs junior buried his head in the bright blue mat at Lakewood’s Jefferson County Stadium and just sat there.
Three or four minutes elapsed, time enough for meet officials to pass by and offer consolation in the form of pats on the back.
But Jennert didn’t budge. Not for a while, anyway.
A Class 4A state title in the high jump had just passed him by.
After not missing a jump all day, Jennert missed three in a row with the bar at 6 feet, 8 inches. He adhered to a pattern he’s employed all season ” skipping odd-numbered heights.
But Conifer senior Chris Carter didn’t skip the evens, entering the 6-8 round with a 6-7 jump in tow. And while he didn’t clear 6-8 either, that 6-7 gave him a 1-inch win over Jennert, whose last successful leap was at 6-6.
Though it may have cost him a state title, Jennert defended not breaking form.
“I’ve done 6-2, 6-4, 6-6 all year,” he said. “I just wanted to keep pattern of what I’m used to. We took a gamble and we lost. It happens.”
Jennert, who moved to Glenwood Springs from Florida last year, had no reason to believe he wouldn’t nail 6-8. He’d done it several times this season, including last weekend at the Western Slope Regional in Grand Junction, where he nearly topped 6-10.
“I know how he feels. I really do,” said Carter, whose winning leap was his personal best. “This was the first good meet I’ve had all season.”
Carter’s turn came first at 6-8, heaping all the pressure on Jennert on his third and final try. They were the only two left standing by that height.
“I can’t even begin to explain how nervous I was watching him,” Carter recalled. “He had to have so much weight on his shoulders. I skipped 6-3 once and lost. It’s the worst feeling ever.”
After disappearing into the Jefferson County Stadium crowd for a bit, Jennert seemed eager to put the day behind him.
“I’m disappointed in myself, with my performance,” he said. “It is what it is, I guess. It’ll give me a lot of motivation (for next year).”
Glenwood Springs head track and field coach Blake Risner, a former high jumper in both the high school and collegiate ranks, knows it’ll take some time for Jennert’s pain to heal. He also hopes it fuels the Demon junior’s fire in 2009.
“I think that should provide some motivation for his senior season,” Risner said. “At the same time, he thought he could go out there and win the thing. It’ll eat at him for a while.”
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