By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Kyle Holtmeyer is just looking for a little extra spring in his step.
For the 6-foot-5 Quincy High School senior to make his first state track and field appearance in the high jump, Holtmeyer must perfect his form to find an extra inch.
During the indoor season, Holtmeyer qualified for state by clearing 6-4. For outdoor, he will need to clear 6-5 to qualify, but he has higher aspirations.
"Right now, I'm worried about getting there," Holtmeyer said. "6-5 is qualifying, but you have to get that on sectional day. I would like to get 6-7 or 6-8 to have more confidence going into the meet."
Technology has been Holtmeyer's biggest aid thus far. Blue Devils coach Kerry Anders gave Holtmeyer some videos to watch and also video tapes his jumps on his iPad.
"A lot of the things are stuff I've never heard of before," said Holtmeyer, about what he learned from the videos. "There are a lot of small details that go into it. I used to point my foot toward the outside of the mat, and watching the videos, it taught me to point my foot to the inside of the mat, which makes a big difference."
Anders believes Holtmeyer has the potential to qualify for state. QHS hasn't had a competitor reach state on the boys side since David Arnold qualified in the pole vault in 2010.
"He'll keep progressing," Anders said. "Last year, he was one of our top jumpers in our conference even. He has a couple inches on them this year. He's a lot stronger this year, and I think a lot of schools have taken notice of that. ... Right now he's going into it ranked No. 9 or tied for ninth, but he'll move up in the standings."
Holtmeyer gives QHS a state contender for a very young Blue Devils' team.
"We're very young. We have 15 freshmen, 15 sophomores and lost 18 seniors, who were well-rounded seniors that could do more than two or three events," said Anders, whose teams open the season March 23 at the Pirate Relays in Hannibal. "We're reloading."
Long distance runner Michael Dureska is also expected to be
competitive in the 1,600. So far, Dureska's 1,600 time is around five minutes, and Anders hopes to see him get down to around 4:30.
On the girls' side, freshman distance runner Madeline Yager leads the young group. To prepare for the season, Yager trained with someone who had little experience.
"In the offseason, I trained with my dad," Yager said. "He played other sports, but he never ran distance."
Yager, who also runs cross country, is hoping to get her 1,600 time down around 5:40 before the end of the season.
"I'm looking forward to better times and going hard in practice," Yager said.