Hohenfels’ Baskins claims high jump title
Stars and Stripes May 24, 2008
RUSSELSHEIM, Germany – As the bar moved upward Friday, more and more high-jumpers fell to the side until three remained.
"I knew [6 feet, 2 inches] was what I had to clear on my first try," said Colby Baskins. "When you get to 6-4 and up, that’s when people start getting eliminated."
Baskins, a Hohenfels junior, put the pressure on his two remaining foes — event favorite Xavier Sheppard of Ansbach and Jeff Shelton of Rota — who failed on their first attempts at the height.
That earned Baskins the tie-breaker advantage, and when none of the three cleared the next height of 6-4, Baskins became the high jump champion at the DODDS-Europe Track and Field Championships.
Not that he expected to win.
"I was skeptical on how I’d do today," Baskins said. "Two weeks ago I’d hurt my ribs. I was in pain and didn’t know how it would come out.
"I felt today was going to be a good day when I cleared that first jump."
Baskins, Sheppard and Shelton were the only jumpers out of 10 to clear 6 feet. While each was competing simultaneously in the long jump, none used it as an excuse.
"I just messed up; it wasn’t that I was tired," said Shelton, who captured the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 2¼ inches.
Sheppard, who was nursing a sore heel, had the last attempt at 6-4, which would have given him the title. But his bottom skimmed the bar as he went over. Shelton clipped the bar twice with his feet after his hips had cleared.
Baskins, who stands 6-foot-4, is moving this summer to Georgia. After another year of high school, he hopes to play college football.
High-jumping, he said, helps him build his football skills.
"You get that sprint down, and then it is all explosion and energy at the drop of a dime," he said.
Other gold medals from Friday included:
xxx John Markman of Naples took the lead rounding the last turn and sprinted away to victory in the boys 1,500 meters with a time of 4 minutes, 6.48 seconds. Markman, a junior, stalked race leader Kel Secrest of Ramstein for 3½ laps before making his move.
"I felt my legs burning and thought I was going to lose it, but told myself to ‘keep pushing, keep pushing,’ " said Markman, who beat his previous best time by 4 seconds. "I heard the crowd screaming and it made me think he was right behind me. It pumps me up."
xxx Shelby Whatley of Lakenheath lived up to her billing as favorite by winning the girls 3,000 meters in 11:23.03. She defeated second-place Soledad Padilla of SHAPE by 10.5 seconds.
xxx Marche Bobbs ran an opening leg of 2:26 to lead Kaiserslautern to a runaway win in the girls 1,600-meter relay. The Lady Raiders’ time of 10:15.45 beat their season’s best by 12 seconds.
xxx Freshman Trevor Hope of Black Forest Academy overtook two competitors on the last turn and home stretch, outsprinting them to the tape to win the boys 800 meters. Hope, Wiesbaden’s Kyle Murray and Hanau’s Emanuel Moore finished within .9 seconds of one another to take the top three positions.
xxx Baumholder’s Megan White edged Ansbach’s Chantel Ponder to win the girls discus. White’s winning toss of 95-6 topped Ponders’ by 13 inches. White’s effort was nearly 7 feet farther than her previous best.
xxx Pat Hess of Heidelberg won the boys shot put with a heave of 40-½. Hess, a senior, topped Sam Freeman of Ansbach by 8½ inches.
xxx Lakenheath’s Taylor Wright captured the girls triple jump by leaping 36-8½. Her jump was nearly a full foot longer than runner-up Portia Short’s.
The meet concludes Saturday, with the first championship field events starting at 11 a.m.