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Ransbottom has high hopes for title

CHESAPEAKE - Brent Ransbottom's rise to the top has been a lot like his high jumping success: Big and quick.

The Chesapeake Panthers junior virtually leaped onto the scene this year in the high jump after an uneventful sophomore season in which his best jump was 5-feet, 10-inches.

"I've matured," Ransbottom said of his marked improvement. "All my muscles just came together.

"Playing football and basketball helped, too. Running and carrying all those pads in football helps your legs, and in basketball coach,

(Norm) Persin runs your guts out and you have a lot of jumping, too."

This season, Ransbottom's best jump was 6-7 and he comes into the state meet with a regional tournament win as he cleared 6-6. The 6-6 height also ties him for the best incoming height at the Division III state track meet along with Jake D'Alessandro of Dalton.

Ransbottom will jump No. 8 in the event at 9 a.m. Saturday, just ahead of D'Alessandro whose best jump this season is 6-8.

"I'm really anxious. I don't know what to expect," Ransbottom said. "Coach (Phil) Davis just said it's another meet. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing."

Ransbottom has been virtually unchallenged all season. He won the regional meet by four inches. But he knows that will change as he faces the other top 15 jumpers in the state.

"I'm looking forward to some competition for a change," Ransbottom said. "Hopefully, it'll make be jump better. I need someone to push me. I do better when there's more adrenalin going. It's more fun with competition."

Davis has coached two previous Chesapeake high jumpers to second place finishes in the state meet, Dylan Carney and T.R. Hannan.

"(Ransbottom) has a good shot, but anything can happen at the state meet," Davis said. "Brent's improved leaps and bounds. He's conscientious and a hard worker.

"If he does as good as he's been doing, he'll have a good chance. But it's hard to do at the state level, especially when it's the first time you've been to the state."

Ransbottom has set several lofty goals and he plans to achieve them before he graduates next year including the school record of 6-9 which is owned Carney.

"I want to win the state this year and next year, break the school record and get a track scholarship," Ransbottom said.

Davis said Ransbottom is capable of accomplishing his goals.

"He's the kind of kid who handles pressure well," Davis said.