Basehor’s Courtney competes against nation’s best jumper
LAWRENCE — Bobby Courtney has seen the best, that much is certain.
The Basehor-Linwood senior competed in his first Kansas Relays on Friday at Memorial Stadium. Although he wasn’t satisfied with his overall performance, the high jumper came away from the experience knowing full well that he will not see better competition at any other point this season.
Among the jumpers in the field was two-time defending Relays champion and 2009 high school national champion James White of Grandview (Mo.).
“Just seeing that competition can help you,” Courtney said. “Seeing how people that go seven feet like he did; seeing how they prepare and how they go about it with their form and everything, that can help you a lot.”
White won the 2008 title with a clearance of 7 feet. He became the first jumper since 1995 to reach the 7-foot barrier at the Relays when Jason Archibald of Garden City set the previous meet record of 7-3. In 2009 he broke the meet record with a clearance of 7-3 1/4. It was the top high school jump in the nation until White cleared 7-5 3/4 at the Winnetonka Invitational later in the season and set the national high school high jump record.
Videos of White’s record-setting leap went viral on YouTube last spring.
Not bad for a guy who stands just 5-10 — the highest mark Courtney cleared on Friday as he tied for 20th.
“That’s incredible,” Courtney said of White’s ability to elevate. “That’s something you don’t see hardly at all.”
White, a Louisville University signee, won his third straight Kansas Relays championship Friday with a clearance of 6-8.
Courtney said he was impressed with White as a jumper and as a person.
“I definitely thought about getting (an autograph), yeah,” Courtney joked. “But he’s a great jumper. I had a talk with him over there, and he’s a nice guy.”
The odds of Courtney seeing a jumper of White’s ability the rest of the season are minimal to nonexistent, and Courtney said the caliber of jumpers he faced and the atmosphere of competing in a large football stadium will help him to be mentally tougher when regionals and, if all goes well, state arrive in late May.
“Now I’ve seen it. It’ll be just like that at state, or at regionals to get to state,” Courtney said.