Rossford jumpers have high hopes

Rossford sophomore Courtney Morris

Some athletes work years to perfect their talents, for others it just comes naturally.

That's the case for Rossford's Manny Durden. The sophomore decided to join the track team this season and he's quickly become one of the best high jumpers in the state. Durden is competing in the State meet this weekend in Columbus.

"When I'm getting ready for states I got to worry about my health and not do dumb things. It's a lot of work and it's very time consuming...but if I want to be the best at what I'm doing it's going to take a lot of time," said Durden, who's jump of 6'7" is the school record.

He's not the lone Bulldog making the trip. Sophomore Jessica Pietrasz and junior Ryan Clay will participate in the 800 meter run, both of which broke the school record this season, and, like Durden, sophomore Courtney Morris will compete in the girls high jump.

"At this time of the year it's not as hard as it would be for running...but it's more of the mental aspect in trying to get the extra inch on your form," said Morris, who also owns the school record.

Head coach Todd Eckel believes that capturing gold in any of the events is within their reach.

"Obviously people are always asking...what are the chances and so forth, but I think we're right up there and have a shot at doing it."

"It would mean a lot...seeing how much work I've put in...I'd be really happy," Morris said.

"I really didn't want to do high jump. I was clearing low heights and now that I can be the best in the state, it would mean a lot to me. I'm looking to be one of the best jumpers around," Durden said.