Kendall Colvin has succumbed to the pressure of high jumping in the Division II regional meet, but she hopes that is a thing of the past.

Kendall Colvin has succumbed to the pressure of high jumping in the Division II regional meet, but she hopes that is a thing of the past.

The junior for the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls track and field team has qualified twice for regional but didn't finish in the top four to advance to state.

This spring, Colvin believes that will change. She already is beginning the mental preparation for the big jump, so to speak.

"The past years at regional, I scared myself out of doing well," said Colvin, who has a personal-best effort of 5 feet, 3 inches, with 5-2 being her best this season. "I always felt younger than everyone there and weather conditions weren't any help. There has been rain and lightning delays and I scared myself by putting pressure on myself.

"I have to stay positive and try to do my best. I have to make sure that I'm prepared and that I stay warmed up."

The program record of 5-4 was set in 1993 by Amanda Eichner, who went on to compete at Youngstown State.

Colvin will begin the home stretch of the regular season beginning this week with the honor roll meets before competing in the MBC meet May 8 at Fredericktown.

She will seek to defend her high-jump title Wednesday, May 2, in the Licking County Honor Roll meet at Licking Heights as well as compete Friday, May 4, in the SpecTRACKular at Mount Vernon. Last year, she won the Licking County meet (5-1) before finishing second (5-1 3/4) in the SpecTRACKular.

Colvin was second (5-2) in the MBC meet last season after winning the league title as a freshman with an effort of 5-0.

"Kendall is not only naturally talented, but she wants to be good at high-jumping," coach Brad Orr said. "She practices hard and warms up the right way. She makes herself a good high-jumper because she wants to be a good high-jumper."

Colvin won a district title at Hamilton Township last season by going 5-2. That same effort at regional would have sent her to state, but she went only 4-10 to finish in a four-way tie for eighth.

"I feel pretty well prepared so far," Colvin said. "I don't think the cold weather has been restricting my jumps at all. I have continued to do well in practice, going 5-2 a lot."

Colvin made a name for herself by placing fourth (4-11) in the Division II district meet as a freshman. At regional, she went 4-8 to place 10th.

"In middle school, I wanted to try hurdles because I was tall with long legs," she said. "But there weren't many girls in the high jump, so they started me on that. I started doing well and kept that up and never got around to the hurdles."

Not that Colvin doesn't run for the Johnnies. She is a member of the 800-meter relay, which she said is a good diversion from numerous practice attempts in the high-jump pit.

"In the high jump, I'm always working on my approach and my jumps, but (with the relay) I have to work on my stride and the handoffs," she said. "That allows me to work on other things."

But Colvin's ticket to the state meet likely will be punched in the high jump. Orr believes this might be the year she breaks through that barrier.

"I think if Kendall can clear 5-4, she gets there," Orr said. "But when you reach that point (at regional), it's as much emotional as anything else.

She has to go out and believe that she is as good as anyone there or anyone in the state. She has to put her mind to it and not back down."

Baseball team having late-season surge

The baseball team had won four consecutive games to improve to 6-11 overall and 4-7 in the MBC before playing Fredericktown on April 27.

The Johnnies defeated Danville 13-2 in five innings April 19 and 7-1 on April 20. They also beat East Knox 7-1 on April 23 and Centerburg 7-5 on April 24.

"We just kind of got things jelling," coach Tony Cleveland said. "We started working as a team and the confidence came along with it. We have been hitting the ball and have been playing better defense."

Cleveland said the Johnnies called up Andrew Hollis from junior varsity and the freshman has played well at shortstop.

Through 15 games, Matt Smith had a .571 batting average with two home runs, 19 RBI and 12 runs. The senior, who has verbally committed to Bowling Green, is expected to sign his letter of intent Tuesday, May 1.

Senior pitcher Hunter Cecil was 1-4 with a 2.30 ERA, and he also had a .390 batting average. Senior Harley O'Flaherty had 20 strikeouts with a 2.50 ERA.

"What we needed was to get going on defense," Cleveland said. "You could see our pitching was doing well if you look at the numbers Hunter and Harley have been putting up."