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Byron Keeps to Her Two Resolutions

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With a fresh new diary in her hand, Beth Byron of Villa Park High School sat down at the beginning of 1990 to scribble down a few New Year’s resolutions.

Two resolutions involved her athletic specialty--the high jump.

“I wrote down that I would jump 5-8 and that I would make it to the state meet,” said Byron, a junior. “But halfway through the season, I crossed out the 5-8 part. I thought it was kind of unrealistic. But I left the state meet part in there.”

Earlier this season in a dual meet against El Modena, Byron cleared 5-8. And Friday night at the Southern Section Masters meet, Byron earned her first trip to the state meet by winning the event with a leap of 5-6.

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For Byron, The Times’ Athlete of the Week, winning the Masters title was impressive as she entered the competition as the ninth-seeded entrant of nine jumpers.

“Mentally, I was scared,” she said. “Being the last to (qualify for the Masters meet), I had to jump first. It’s kind of nerve-wracking.”

Last year, Byron qualified for the Masters meet as a sophomore, and finished the season with a best jump of 5-5, a school record. Actually, Byron says she is the only girl high jumper the school has had in the last five years.

“I don’t really have a coach,” she said. “We (she and the boy high jumpers) just help each other out and say what we could do better to improve.”

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Byron also has received technical advice from Olympic high jumper Doug Nordquist, a former Sonora High athlete who currently teaches music at Santa Fe Springs High.

“I met him at a track clinic last summer at Fullerton College,” Byron said. “And then I jumped with him during Christmas break at Santa Fe Springs. He helped me a lot.”

Byron, who has a 4.3 grade-point average, also ran junior varsity cross-country in the fall.

“It was great. I felt so satisfied the day I ran six miles,” she said. “I’m not that good at it, so it’s something I really have to work hard at. It really helps my confidence.”

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And confidence will be an important asset if Byron is to accomplish her goal for next year.

“It would be great to jump 6 feet,” she said. “But I don’t know. . . . I’ll probably need some coaching for that.”

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Beth Byron

Villa Park High School

* Position: High jumper

* Height, Weight, Class: 5-9 1/2, 143, Junior.

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* Last week: Byron won the girls’ high jump at the Southern Section Masters meet with a leap of 5-6, despite being the ninth-seeded jumper of nine entrants.

* Season: Byron has a best of 5-8, which she jumped during a dual meet against El Modena.


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