Parker's Demos wins state title in high jump
The Janesville Parker High School junior got her answer in the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet here Friday.
Jumping “pain-free” for the first time this season, Demos cleared 5 foot, 6 inches to win the high jump.
After a sixth-place finish in 2006 and a fourth a year ago in the high jump, Demos reached the top of the awards podium, thanks to a clutch jump at 5-4. With two previous misses at 5-4—a height she normally clears with ease—Demos changed her approach and soared over the bar on her final attempt to stay in contention with Verona's Eva Greenwalt and Watertown's Lindsay Schwartz.
After all three cleared 5-5, Demos was the only one to make 5-6.
Demos’ state title is the first for Parker since the 800-meter relay team of Sarah Pernot, Kelly Holloway, Brittni Sherrod and Alyx Stalheim raced to victory in 2001. Demos is the first girl at Parker to take an individual title since Lynn Klipstine won the shot put in 1987.
Although Demos fell short on three attempts to clear 5-7 and had hoped to break Lori Kemnitz’s school record of 5-8, the gold medal around her neck helped ease the pain.
“I’m happy that I was finally able to jump without any foot pain or shin pain,” Demos said. “Once I got my steps down and changed my approach a little bit, I felt really good.”
Demos cleared 5-6 on her first attempt after Schwartz and Greenwalt missed their first two attempts at that height. Schwartz missed her third and final attempt at 5-6, and when Greenwalt missed hers, the title belonged to Demos.
With Schwartz and Jennifer Lehman competing in the 300 low hurdles as well as the high jump, Demos had to wait out a 30-minute delay while the preliminary heats took place in the hurdles. The wait didn't seem to affect her.
“That wasn’t a big deal,” Demos said of the delay. “As long as my foot wasn’t bothering me or stiffening up on me, I didn’t care.”
Demos will go for a second medal in Saturday’s finals of the 100 high hurdles. She ran a 15.67 in the preliminaries today, and will have the seventh-fastest time entering the finals. Only the top six medal.
Parker got another medal in high jump from senior Riley Grafft. After finishing fourth a year ago, Grafft placed fifth by clearing 6-6. Grafft narrowly missed 6-7, which would’ve won the competition due to fewer misses than winner Chris Redman of Madison La Follette.
Grafft defeated Redman at the Big Eight meet, but came up short against his conference rival at state.
“Me and Chris always have a good time. It’s a good competition between us,” Grafft said of Redman. “We're always joking around with each other.
“I could’ve done a little better than I did today because I missed a couple of jumps early, but I still got a medal and jumped 6-6, which is my best.”
Janesville Craig senior Greg Pedersen finished 12th in the shot put with a throw of 52-11/2, while Parker seniors D’Merius Holbrook and Harold Lloyd were 20th and 24th, respectively, in the event.
Craig junior JoJo Pregont was 15th in the long jump, and junior teammate Ryan Ahrens was 22nd in the 1,600.
Parker’s boys and girls 800 relay teams did not advance to the finals, nor did Craig's Nikki Scieszinski in the 400.