Today we are on to our penultimate edition of athletes to watch for the 2021 track season, and are going to take a look at the vertical jumps. For these articles I will be taking into account any marks recorded in 2019 or 2020.
The pole vault has produced some Missouri's brightest stars in recent years, and it seems another star has made her way onto the scene. Rachel Homoly (Liberty) already had the freshman national record in pole vault, and she recently cleared 13-6 which is tied for the sophomore national record. The All-Class state record is 13-1, so she'll likely break that record in her first meet so its safe to say she'll be one to watch this year. Hadley Jetmore (Pembroke Hill) was the 2019 Class 3 state champion, and has cleared 12-6 this indoor season so she'll be one to watch as well. Other pole vaulters to watch include Mason Meinershagen (Oakville), Sadie Heisner (Mt. Vernon), Paige Rantz (Reeds Spring), Keyleigh Reichert (Battle), Katherine Candrl (Owensville), and Carter Hawkins (Centralia).
The boys side is led by Luke Barousse (Poplar Bluff) who has cleared 15-6 this indoor season, and was already one of the top vaulters heading into 2021. Charles Garino (Hickman) has also cleared 15-6 with a vault last summer, and cleared 15-0 in indoor this winter. Other boys vaulters to watch include Weston Edwards (Liberty North), Sullivan Gleason (Ft Zumwalt North), Pryce Mason (Webb City), Dillon Hilbert (Rock Bridge), and Dominic Crisostomo (Helias).
Defending Class 4 state champion Eliza Maupin (Webster Groves) comes into 2021 as the top returning girls high jumper. She owns a personal best of 5-8, and stands to improve upon that this year. Morgan Gratza (Washington) placed third in the Class 4 meet in 2019 with a PR of 5-7 and will look to make a run for the top high jumper in Missouri as well. Other athletes to watch include Lily Simmons (Nixa), Kiara Strayhorn (Capital City), Kristen Birmingham (Park Hill), Renee Finke (Montgomery County), and Brooklyn Miller (St. Joseph Christian).
The boys high jump looks like we'll have someone challenging 7-0 this spring. Ben Schneider (Savannah) cleared 6-10 twice last indoor season, and was over 6-8 in his only meet this winter. If he can return with the form he was in last winter for outdoor season, he very well could join the elite 7-0 club. Other athletes to watch include Dante Cox (Smithville), Jaylin Noel (Park Hill), and Tanner Hillenburg (Pleasant Hope).