Landon Bartel has learned from one of the best.
After winning the Class 3 boys high jump Friday at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3-4 Track and Field Championships at Dwight T. Reed Stadium, the Southern Boone junior was quick to credit his coach.
That would be Andy Gilmore, a former Southern Boone athlete who went on to become a two-time NCAA Division II All-American in the high jump at Central Missouri, even taking home a second-place finish at the 2003 outdoor championships.
"I definitely wouldn't be where I am now without him," Bartel said. "He's helped a lot."
Bartel won with a leap of 6-8, beating out Grandview's Harvy Kendall who jumped 6-6. Warrensburg's Trevon Payne took third at 6-5.
After successfully jumping 6-8, Bartel, instead of opting to go for a personal record at 6-9, decided to go for 6-101â„4.
"That's what I needed to qualify for a meet in Des Moines, Iowa," Bartel said, referencing the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for June 19-23. Gilmore is competing in the senior division there.
Bartel came close but was never able to jump the qualifying standard.
"I really would have liked to, instead of go to 6-101â„4, go to 6-9 and just get a PR," Bartel said. "But that's what I needed to qualify so I went ahead and tried it. I was close. If it was 6-10 instead of 6-101â„4, I think I would have gotten it."
Gilmore once held the Southern Boone school record in the high jump at 6-4. Bartel broke that last season and eventually went on to a fifth-place finish at state with a leap of 6-6.
Bartel knew big things were to come after that peformance, but he never really expected to be a state champion.
"At the beginning of the year I was just hoping to get all-state," he said. "Toward the end of the year, especially in districts and sectionals when I started jumping better, I was like, "Man, I really have a shot to be a state champion.'"
Bartel did just that.
"It means a lot," he said. "I've just been working so hard. I know it means a lot to all of my family. I just thank God for everything he's put in my life that's allowed me to get to here."
Bartel still has one more year to try to qualify for that national meet, or maybe go for the Class 3 state record of 7-0.
With the type of coach Bartel has, you never know.
"(He's taught me) everything," Bartel said of Gilmore. "Before he was helping me I would just go up there, run and jump. But he taught me all these things about leaning into the curve, everything you're supposed to do over the bar, how there's rotation."
He'll see how much more that coaching can pay off in 2014.
Bartel's 10 points for his first-place finish puts Southern Boone in a tie for fourth place in the team standings after one day. Maryville leads with 16 points while Mount Vernon is next with 12.5. St. Charles West is third with 11 while Helias and St. Joseph Benton join the Eagles with 10.
Bartel is back in action at 11 a.m. Saturday in the triple jump, an event in which the junior is seeded 12th.
School of the Osage's Donald Huddlemeyer picked up two points with a seventh-place finish in the boys shot put. The junior used a toss of 50-61â„2 to pick up the points.
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