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Morris takes 3rd in state high jump

COLUMBUS — Remember the song on the rooftop in the Mary Poppins’ movie “Step In Time.” Lukas Morris could write another verse.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior track standout would probably add the verse “Clear the crossbar, step in time.” That was the difference on Saturday between winning and finishing in third place for Morris.

Unable to time his approach steps right, Morris still managed to jump 6-4 and finish third in the high jump event at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state track and field meet.

“Last year I had that plant spot right every time. I couldn’t get it today,” said Morris. “Getting your plant in the right spot is what it’s all about. And a little luck, too.”

Nathan Davis of Dayton Stivers was able to get his timing right and won the high jump by clearing 6-7.

Last year, Morris jumped 6-8 and finished second to Ryan Fleck of Napoleon who set a meet record with a jump of 7-feet, one and one-half inches. Davis was third last year with an identical 6-7 jump.

Andrew Austin of Warren Champion was second at 6-6. James Washington of Lorain Clearview was fourth, Juho Hietanen of Clyde was fifth and Derek Barbatos of Vermillion was sixth. All three went 6-4 but finished behind Morris with more misses.

“(Morris) had the height, he just didn’t lay out,” said Ironton coach Greg Cronacher. “He slipped when he was going for 6-2 or 6-4 and he wasn’t able to get his speed. It bothered him.”

Morris said the slippery spot was a problem for him and other jumpers.

“There was a place on the track where I slipped at 6-2. Everyone hitting that spot was slipping,” said Morris.

But Morris didn’t try to blame the slippery spot for his performance.

“I didn’t feel like I had any legs today,” said Morris who was in the long jump event on Friday where he finished seventh.

“I’m happy to finish third, but I wanted to win. I knew coming in that there were no guarantees. I knew I had to jump well. Everyone here is a good jumper. It all comes down to the little things,” said Morris.