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On Road, Camarillo’s Fischer Rises Above Criticism

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jeremy Fischer of Camarillo High heard the talk, but until he cleared a personal best of 7 feet 1 inch to win the high jump in the Santa Barbara Easter Relays on Saturday, he endured it.

Fischer cleared a personal best of 7 feet in the high jump in his first outdoor meet of the season earlier this month, yet he knew the rap against him: He only jumps his best at home . He’s not as good on the road.

Home is Camarillo’s James Ackerman Stadium. Its vast tartan high jump apron with a slight slope favors jumpers who approach the bar from the right side, as does Fischer.

“Yeah, I knew what people were saying,” Fischer said Monday. “ ‘He hasn’t done that well, except at home.’ . . . Guess they can’t say that after the other day.”

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Although the Scorpion junior missed his three attempts at 7-3 at Santa Barbara City College, he came excruciatingly close on his third try, grazing the bar with his right calf on the way down.

Fischer also is an accomplished long jumper. Earlier in the meet Saturday, he won that event with a personal best of 22-1.

“I just felt great,” he said. “Once I got jumping, I just got into a groove and everything went great.”

After clearing 6-4 on his first jump, Fischer passed at 6-6 before clearing 6-8, 6-10 1/2--a meet record--and 7-1--the No. 2 outdoor mark in the nation behind Charles Ford (7-2) of Judson (Tex.) High--on his initial attempts.

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Fischer was so impressive on his jump at 7-1--Camarillo Coach Dennis Riedmiller said he cleared the bar by three inches--that he had it raised to 7-3 when a successful try at 7-2 1/4 would have broken the Ventura County record of 7-2 set by Ken Burke of Westlake in 1984.

"(Seven-foot-three) just appealed to me,” said Fischer, 5-9, 145 pounds. “That would have been a (La Playa stadium record).”

Riedmiller, who has coached Fischer since he was a freshman, concedes he is pleasantly surprised with his protege at this juncture.

“It’s just amazing that he’s doing what he’s doing,” Riedmiller said. “The mental part of his jumping is really, really going well right now.”

A change in attitude has translated into greater altitude. After spending too much time last year fretting over particular opponents, Fischer is focusing on only the showdown between him and the bar.

“There were definitely certain guys who intimidated me last year,” Fischer said. “But this year, I don’t worry about what the other guys are doing. I figure that if I clear 7-1 or 7-2 or 7-3 and get beat, then that’s the way it goes. But I know that if I jump that high, I’ll have a good chance at winning.”

With his latest effort, Fischer continues a rapid ascent on the high jumping ladder.

He is tied for sixth on the all-time regional list with Rob Olson of El Camino Real (1977), and holding down the No. 5 position is none other than Dwight Stones of Glendale (7-1 1/2 in 1971), one of the greatest high jumpers of all time.

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Fischer, the son of a black soldier and a South Korean mother, was born in Seoul before being adopted by Bob and Ann Fischer when he was 3 years old.

He began competing in the high jump in 1989 and cleared 5-8 in seventh grade. He followed that with bests of 6-3 as an eighth-grader, 6-4 as a freshman and 6-11 1/2 as a sophomore. He tied for fourth in last year’s state championships.

Even Fischer finds his improvement a bit mind-boggling. “If someone had told me as a freshman that I would clear 6-11 1/2 as a sophomore and 7-1 as a junior, I would have said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ ” he said.

That does not mean he plans to rest on his laurels. He stated at a Sunkist Invitational press conference in December that his goal this season was to clear 7-3. Riedmiller has no doubts Fischer will back up that statement if he remains healthy.

“I remember some people rolled their eyes when he said that,” Riedmiller recalled. “But when Jeremy said it, I believed it. He’s a very modest kid who wouldn’t say that unless he firmly believed he could do it.”


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