Harmon 4th in long jump at state meet

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2000

DAYTON – For a guy no one ever expect to be there, Jason Harmon did more than just show up.

Sunday, June 04, 2000

DAYTON – For a guy no one ever expect to be there, Jason Harmon did more than just show up.

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After an above average season his junior year, Harmon stepped it up as a senior, won the district and regional meet, and earned a place in Friday’s first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet at Welcome Stadium.

There was no average performance Friday in the long jump even after Harmon capped a Cinderella season and finished fourth in the Division II state meet finals.

"I thought I had a pretty good chance of placing," Harmon said. "I didn’t think I would place this high, but after I started and I was jumping good, I wanted to jumper further. I feel pretty right now."

Harmon broke 22-feet for the first time in his career on his first jump as he leaped 22-4. He went 22-feet on his second jump and then broke his own personal record with a 22-4 1/4 jump on his third attempt.

The final jump put Harmon in third place where he remained until Milan Edison’s Robert Kandell went 22-7 on his final jump to move ahead and drop Harmon to fourth.

"I was in third place most of the time until that guy (Kandell) got off a good jump in his last try," Harmon said.

Since Harmon jumped in the third flight, he sat through the fourth flight and did jump until late in the finals. The layoff seemed to take its toll.

In the finals, Harmon had jumps of 21-5, 21-1 1/5, and 21-8 1/2.

"I seemed to lose a lot of strength," Harmon said. "I got a little tight waiting, too. My sprinting was down and that kind of knocked me off my timing," Harmon said.

Ironton coach Greg Cronacher said Harmon achieved his success through hard work and was very deserving of his placement.

"When Jason came out for track, he did everything we asked of him and never complained. We didn’t have anyone who would work any harder than Jason the past three years," Cronacher said.

"For him to go up to the state meet and step it up like he did is fantastic. He saved his best for last. Everyone (in the event) was down six inches to a foot in the finals from their semifinal jumps except two guys."

Bill Mills of Copley went 24-6 1/4 to win the long jump. His jump broke the state record by three inches, but wasn’t recognized as the record because it was wind-aided.

Jorrell Johnson of Bellefontaine was second at 23-2 1/4. Behind Harmon in fifth place was Seth Waits of Tontogany Otsego at 22-3 3/4.

Despite the high finish, Harmon had a hint of disappointment in his voice.

"I thought had more. I thought I’d bust a 23-footer," said Harmon. "But I’ve only ran track for three years. To come here in the state meet and to accomplish what I have is a blessing. I just wish more of the guys were here to see it."

In the Division III long jump finals Friday, Coal Grove’s Jeff Hamilton finished 11th in the state.

After going 21-11 to win the regional, Hamilton jumped 20-1 in his best attempt. Hamilton would have had a chance finish in the top eight if he had matched his regional jump, but almost all the distances of the jumpers were shorter than their regionals distances. A rain storm Friday afternoon forced an hour and a half delay in the meet.

The favorite, Bobby Gibson of Mt. Blanchard Riverd won with a leap of 22-10 1/4. Freemont St. Joseph’s Jelani Jackson went 22-1 1/2 and to take second.

In eighth place was Luke Good of West Alexander Twin Valley at 20-10, Adam Harrington of Chillicothe Huntington Ross at 20-8, and Chad Rigers of Ashland Mapleton at 20-3 /4.