Two title-winning high jumpers returned in 2013. Only one could repeat as state champion.
Eldon's Sara Rhine won her second consecutive Class 3 girls high jump championship Friday at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3-4 Track and Field Championships at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.
Rhine's winning jump far out-distanced California's Sydney Deeken, the 2012 Class 2 state champion who moved up a class this spring.
"It feels awesome," Rhine said of her 5-foot-7 winning jump, which matched last year's title-winning leap. "I'm very thankful to be where I'm at. I'm just so happy right now. I'm enjoying it."
Deeken, who won her championship last season with a jump of 5-4, managed a seventh-place finish with a top leap of 5-2.
"Feel pretty (cruddy)," Deeken said. "I obviously didn't do my best. Haven't really been doing my best this year. Don't know why. My steps are all screwed up and I just can't get it down."
Mexico's Zori Holman took second, clearing the bar at 5-6. Smithville's Miranda Migletz was third with a jump of 5-5.
Rhine tried to break the Class 3 state record, but missed out on her three attempts at 5-8.
"The record is 5-7 1/2, but I'll take a first," she said. "It's still good. My best attempt was my first jump (for 5-8). I almost had it. I hit it with my legs."
Rhine, just a sophomore, still has two more years to try to set the state mark.
"I'll just have to keep working hard and do what I've been doing," she said. "It gives me confidence for next year, and just something to look forward to."
Rhine missed just one jump prior to her three attempts at 5-8. The top seed cleared 4-10, 5-0, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5 and 5-6 on her first try before getting 5-7 on the second attempt.
"I wasn't nervous and I just did what I knew how to do and what I had practiced all year and it just happens," Rhine said.
Rhine and Deeken have battled all season long, competing at the Tri-County Conference meet, as well as the district and sectional meets.
"My main competition all year has been Sydney Deeken," Rhine said. "It's just been good to have her and everything. She's been a good motivation. She pushes me to do well.
"I know how good of a jumper she is and how much potential she has. It was too bad to see her only jump 5-2."
Deeken agreed, considering the pair had both jumped 5-8 at the conference meet.
"Sara Rhine is good," Deeken, a junior, said. "Me and her have battled ever since she was a freshman. I've beat her and she's beat me. I figured it would be me and her. She jumped her best and I didn't."
Rhine and Deeken will go head-to-head again today in the long jump at 2 p.m. Rhine is seeded first while Deeken is fourth.
California is third with 12 and Eldon is sixth with 10 points.
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