A skill that proved valuable during the winter took Linden-McKinley High School sophomore Jeffery Floyd to new heights this spring.
Floyd, who used his jumping ability as often as possible for the Panthers' boys basketball team last season, came out for track and field for the first time this year and soon discovered that his forte was the high jump.
While his natural skills were enough to help him clear 6 feet, 10 inches in early April, he ended the season atop the podium in the Division II state meet held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State by clearing the same height on his first attempt.
Zach Robbins of Beloit West Branch placed second (6-9).
"I still need to work on my form," said Floyd, who failed each of his three attempts to clear 7-1 3/4, which would have broken the Division II state record by 1/4 of an inch, after locking up the state title. "I'm so excited. I was nervous and I feel so glad that I got it over with."
Floyd, who won City League and district titles before earning a runner-up finish in the regional meet held May 29 and 31 at Lexington, had no idea when he first came out for track that he would excel so quickly.
"I was excited and happy that I got it," Floyd said. "I'm just going to keep working at it."
Also in the Division II boys meet, Eastmoor Academy senior Cameron Jackson finished third in the 110-meter hurdles (14.53 seconds) and the Warriors' 1,600 relay of seniors Will Anderson, Shamar Hutchinson and Todd Roddy and junior George Daniels finished fourth (3:21.02).
Last year at state, Jackson fell in the preliminary race on the last hurdle in the 110 hurdles and settled for 14th. He and Roddy also were on the 800 relay that placed fifth a year ago.
"I felt very good today," said Jackson, who will continue his track career at Eastern Michigan University. "I had a good start and sprinted my race at the end."
The 1,600 relay ran 3:21.53 in preliminaries to earn the top seed for the final.
"The competition was faster today," Hutchinson said.
Columbus International senior Timia Easley did not have the finish to her prep career that she was hoping for in the long jump.
After winning back-to-back state titles in Division III, she earned the fourth and final state-qualifying berth at regional in Division II. But two days before competing at state, she injured both ankles while landing during practice.
Even though Easley knew she wouldn't win her third state title, she made one attempt at state, going down the runway on crutches and, with her left foot in a immobilizing boot, going past the springboard and into the pit. Her official result was a foul given that she had stepped over the springboard.
"I was doing some drills and came down wrong on both of my feet," said Easley, who has signed with East Tennessee State University. "I've won state two times and I qualified, so regardless of whether or not I was injured, I earned the right to go out there."
Easley won the Division III state title in 18-1 last season and in 18-1/4 in 2012.
Northland girls relay takes eighth
The Northland girls 400 relay of senior Kennedy Dulaney and juniors Mariah Nevels, Ariel Skipper and Armani Skipper finished eighth (49.11) at state in Division I.
"This has been a great experience this year," Ariel Skipper said. "This is our first time making it this far and we're the only (boys or girls) Columbus City School relay (to qualify for state in Division I)."
During preliminaries, the same four girls ran 48.71, representing the ninth consecutive race in which the relay ran a season best.
"This year we came out and did it," Nevels said. "We didn't even make it to the regional final last year."
Also at state in Division I, Centennial junior Chisom Ifedi finished 15th in the shot put (20-6 1/2).
Three runners place for Africentric
The Africentric Early College track program had three individuals place in the top eight at state in Division III.
Senior Kyrah Jones finished 14th in the 400 last season but opted to concentrate on shorter sprints this year. That decision paid off, as she placed third in both the 100 (12.49) and 200 (25.63).
"My high school career is really over and I'm just proud of myself that I came in in the top three in both of my events," she said. "I didn't even make state finals last year, so it's amazing."
Also in the girls meet, junior Emoni Hudson placed fifth in the 100 (12.53) after finishing 13th in both the 100 and 200 a year ago.
Hudson and Jones also ran on the 400 relay along with juniors Dajanique Franks and Rhenana Taylor. The relay reached the final but completed its handoff outside of the exchange zone and didn't finish.
The 800 relay of Franks, Hudson, Taylor and sophomore Dajah Howard was 13th (1:49.33).
In the Division III boys meet, junior Michael Hartway placed eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.17).
"I ran well, but I hit the last hurdle so my time went down by a millisecond," Hartway said. "I'm only a junior, so I have a lot to improve on. It's an emotional experience being here."
Hosbrough shines in wheelchair events
Although Briggs senior Morgan Hosbrough didn't pick up the sport of sled hockey until three years ago, she has become a member of the U.S. women's national team.
It didn't take her long to find success in another sport as well this spring.
During her first season competing in wheelchair track, Hosbrough qualified for the state in the girls 100, 400 and 800 wheelchair races. She earned runner-up medals in the 100 (23.55) and 800 (2:45.19) and placed third in the 400 (58.76).
Her time in the 800 was a personal-best by six seconds.
"It went really well," Hosbrough said. "It's an amazing experience being here as a senior. This was my first year participating in wheelchair track."