Dennis Riedmiller talked the talk and Jeremy Fischer walked the walk in the Santa Barbara Easter Relays on Saturday.
Riedmiller, Fischer's coach at Camarillo High, had predicted all season that his senior phenom would high-jump 7 feet 4 inches in the meet at Santa Barbara City College--one of his favorite places--and Fischer didn't let his coach down by clearing the height on his second attempt.
"I was definitely shooting for 7-4 coming in here," said Fischer, who is 5 feet 10, 155 pounds. "I jumped 7-1 here last year and I just missed at 7-3 so I figured I could make that height. I just love jumping here."
The 7-4 clearance raised Fischer's Ventura County record by an inch, surpassed the region standard of 7-3 1/4 set by Lee Balkin of Glendale in 1979, and moved him into a tie for eighth on the all-time U.S. high school outdoor list.
He also climbed to second on the all-time state list behind Maurice Crumby, who leaped 7-4 1/2 for San Francisco Balboa High in 1983.
"We were definitely shooting for Balkin's record," Riedmiller said. "That was something we wanted to get. After 7-4, it was up to Jeremy to decide what he wanted the bar raised to."
Seven-five would have been the next logical height, but Fischer had the bar set at 7-5 1/2 because a clearance would have been the highest ever in a U.S. high school meet. Dothel Edwards of Cedar Shoals (Ga.) set the national high school record of 7-6 in 1983, but he cleared it in a junior (age 19-and-younger meet) meet that also included collegiate competitors.
Although Fischer was unsuccessful on all three attempts at 7-5 1/2, his second effort was relatively close as he knocked the bar off with the back of his knees.
"I think I could have made (7-5 1/2), but I kind of psyched myself out, said Fischer, who also won the long jump at 21-8 1/2. "I'm not familiar jumping at that height."
Competing in weather conditions that make most of the country envious of Southern California in March, Fischer cleared 6-4 and 6-8 on his first attempts.
After passing 6-10, he cleared 7-0 and 7-2 on his second efforts.
He barely grazed the bar with his left heel on the 7-4 jump, but not enough to dislodge it.
"I won't say he's going to break the national record this year," Riedmiller said, "but I will say that he will definitely challenge it."
Fischer's performance, which marked the third time this season he has cleared 7-2 or higher, overshadowed several other quality efforts by local athletes.
Delores Tuimoloau of Channel Islands won the girls' shotput and discus with marks of 41-11 1/2 and 145-0.
Her discus effort added three feet to the Ventura County record she set last year and moved her to fourth on the all-time region list.
Eleazar Hernandez of Camarillo won the boys' 3,000 meters in 8 minutes 38.70 seconds and placed second in the 1,500 in 4:07.10.
Teammate Mike Wygant won the triple jump with a school record of 44-10 1/2 and Newbury Park's Jared Trefethan was first in the discus with a throw of 151-4.
Other local winners included Andrea Wasden of Rio Mesa in the 100 high hurdles (wind-aided 15.27 seconds) and Shawanda Hotchkiss of Channel Islands in the triple jump (wind-aided 36-11 3/4).