As much as he wanted a second straight state high jump championship Saturday in Wichita, Baldwin's Brian Heck wasn't sure.
"I wanted to end on a good note because I'd had such a good high school career," he said.
In addition to important roles on the Bulldogs' football and basketball teams, Heck cleared 6-8 to win last year's Class 4A state high jump title.
"I remember last year my dad said, `You won it. Now the hardest thing is going to be to repeat it,''' Heck said. "He was really right. There was a lot of pressure there."
More even than one might imagine because his 6-8 jump at the 1991 state meet was his only 6-8 jump.
"THIS YEAR my form had kind of gotten off and I didn't really realize it," he said. "My dad and I went back a week ago right after regionals and broke it down. I only got 6-4, and I was getting really frustrated. I was jumping a long way from the bar, and also I wasn't using my arms."
He corrected both mistakes, returning to much the same form that earned him a 1991 gold.
"I was nervous going into the meet because I'd changed so much," he said.
Heck didn't clear 6-8, but he was the only jumper at state to clear 6-6, and he repeated as the 4A champ.
"I was overwhelmed," he said. "Even though it was two inches lower than last year, I was happy happy to get out of it alive, I guess."
HECK HAS a month of summer vacation before he leaves for Annapolis, Md., where he will attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Heck plans to participate in the high jump on the Navy track team.
Lawrence High boys cross country coach Steve Sublett begrudgingly agreed to run the state cross country meet when the KSHSAA asked LHS to take over as host.
"I took a deep breath, because I didn't want to host a state meet," Sublett said. "I'd rather coach than host."
He relented because the KSHSAA agreed to split it into two sites.
"I'm glad to do it so they'll break it up," he said. "We've been asking them for several years to break it up. It puts too much pressure on a course, there's too much dust, there are too many people."
WHEN MANHATTAN asked to be relieved of its duties as host of the 12 high school state meets boys and girls in each of the six classes Lawrence reveived a call from Kaye Pearce, the KSHSAA associate executive director.
"Earlier they asked if we wanted to host the whole thing, and we said we couldn't do that," Sublett said.
The state later decided to hold the 5A and 6A races at Rim Rock Farm north of Lawrence and the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A races in Wamego.
"It's going to cost us some money to get into the state meet business," Sublett said. "It's not a money-making deal."
LHS can help defer the costs of holding the meet by selling T-shirts and possibly charging for parking. The host school receives 20 percent of each state-dictated $3 admission.