Jude Leahy didn’t go out for the track team his seventh grade year.
“I didn’t go to the (sign-up) meeting and then thought it was too late,” he said.
With Covid-19 cancelling his eighth grade year, Leahy didn’t start the spring sport until his freshman year at Clinton-Massie High School.
“I regret that,” he said.
But, in the end, the regret didn’t last long as Leahy started high jumping.
“My freshman year I went 5-6 and just fell in love with it,” he said.
Leahy will take that love of high jump to Columbus this weekend. He will compete Saturday morning in the OHSAA Division II Track and Field Championships boys high jump competition 9:30 a.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the Ohio State campus.
Leahy went 6-0 last week at the regional meet which is the lowest height among the 18 state qualifiers. The Massie junior went 6-1 the week before in winning the district meet and cleared 6-2 earlier in the year.
There are two jumpers who cleared 6-7 last week but 10 jumpers, including Leahy, between 6-0 and 6-2, based on last week’s meets.
Leahy said he was extremely nervous last week at the regional meet, but that’s nothing unusual. He was anxi0us at the SBAAC and district meets as well.
He had a goal of 6-2 when the season started and quickly dispatched that mark halfway through the year. At the league meet, despite the nerves, he felt like he had three good jumps at 6-4 which “pushed my expectations,” he said.
Leahy has had to deal with shin splints throughout the season. So many jumps, have taken their toll on his legs. Leahy said shin splints are cracks and small fractures in his shin bone and micro tears in the accompanying muscle.
He said they can hurt so bad he struggles to walk. He’ll focus on strengthening his legs this summer which he believes will improve his jumping “a lot” for his senior season.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports