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Monday, July 28, 2014

Raising the bar

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Photo)
Sikeston junior Betsy Borgsmiller has set a new high jump record at Sikeston High School with a jump of 5 feet, 8 inches and is the top seed at this weekend's Class 3 state meet. David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- She's been in this situation before, but to Sikeston jumper Betsy Borgsmiller it just has a different feel.

Going into the high jump as the state's top-seeded jumper can have that effect.

Borgsmiller will be heading to her third-straight Class 3 state tournament with the top jump of any girl competitor in any class.

It will be the first time Borgsmiller walks onto the track as the top-seeded jumper within her competition.

"This year, it seems to me, almost completely different," Borgsmiller said. "As of right now, I'm seeded number one. But still, on that day, you have to come out and be ready to jump and give it your all. But, It definitely boosts my confidence a lot and makes me go into the competition feeling much better."

This track season has been one for the record books from Borgsmiller. She's broke Sikeston's high jump record -- twice.

A jump of 5-feet, 7-inches won her the SEMO Conference tournament crown at Jackson which broke it the first time.

The second, was during the Class 3, Sectional 1 meet at Lutheran South in St. Louis on Saturday where she eclipsed 5-8, which is the Class 3 state record.

Borgsmiller shares that record with Morgan Whitson of Moberly. Whitson had a seed of 5-8 going into the state tournament last season, but won the Class 3 state championship with a jump of 5-7.

The state record for the highest jump in the girls high jump is 5-9 set by Jennifer Drum of Smith-Cotton in Sedalia in 2000.

"She was really pumped up," Sikeston track coach Terry Flannigan said about Borgsmiller's sectional jump. "That's the most excitement I've seen out of her for quite a while."

Borgsmiler even tried for 5-10 during sectionals, but just barely scraped the bar.

"It was very exciting," Borgsmiller said about breaking the school record and tying the state record. "I had tied with it my freshman year and it was made before I was even born. To finally have it all by myself as my own record, it felt pretty good.

"Getting 5-8 was awesome. I just barely nicked 5-10, too. So, that's hopeful for Friday."

Borgsmiller is no stranger to the high jump. She's a veteran from fifth grade when she competed in AAU.

In her first AAU meet, she jumped 3-10 and won easily. Her best before joining Sikeston's track program in junior high was 4-10, which would have been high enough to qualify in this year's Class 1 state meet.

Her dad, Sikeston superintendent Steve Borgsmiller, along with many others along the way helped steer Borgsmiller into the jumper she is today.

"I'm just a lot stronger," Borgsmiller said. "The transition from junior high to high school, just my mental stability has improved. In junior high, I can remember I would do a million run-through's before I'd actually jump.

"It's just those little things that improve each year."

Borgsmiller, who has a background in both jumping and cheerleading, relies on technique rather than natural springing ability -- something she knows has taken her to new heights this year.

She's moved closer to the bar before leaping and she's also sped up her approach. Borgsmiller thinks those are two reasons she's been able to jump 5-7 and 5-8 this season.

"Natural ability can only take you so far -- which is the complete opposite for someone like Cal Lane," Borgsmiller said about Sikeston's former state jumping champion. "For people like me, you have to rely on correct technique, muscle strength and just doing it right. Everything needs to be spot on."

Borgsmiller has pointed every year she's been a part of the Class 3 state meet. She placed seventh as a freshman in 2009 with a jump of 5-2.

She jumped 5-2 again as a sophomore last season. Although she did not up her jump height, she did improve placement-wise taking fourth.

This year, as a junior, Borgsmiller imagines a jump of 5-7 or 5-8 could bring home a gold medal. Although, just because she has jumped that high before, Borgsmiller believes other factors play a big part in her jumps.

"It really depends on the day," said Borgsmiller. "The last I looked, Friday is supposed to be partly cloudy in the mid 70s. I kind of like it a little warmer, but it all depends on how the weather is and how everyone else is feeling."

When asked if there was a chance she could either tie or break the state record of 5-9, Borgsmiller didn't want to get her hopes up.

"I'm afraid to think I really could get it and disappoint myself," she said. "But, if I could win it, it'd mean so much to me."

Borgsmiller and the rest of the state qualifying track team will begin their quest for gold on Friday and continue Saturday at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City on the campus of Lincoln University.


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