All the technique and moving parts in the high jump came together for Cesar Sepulveda on April 27.
The Jefferson High senior’s training to that point in the season showed that he was on the verge of something bigger. He cleared 6 feet, 6¼ inches, then a personal best, nine days earlier, but the Meet of Champions in Sweet Home turned out to be a particularly good day.
Sepulveda made 6-9¼ and nearly cleared the bar at 7 feet on his second of three attempts at that height. Lions coach Greg Wickett says it would have been a clearance at 6-11.
“I accelerated, my foot placement was good,” Sepulveda said. “I’ve just got to keep that same extension and arch my back a little more and I would have had that 7-foot. I almost had it. I was pretty close.”
His new PR puts Sepulveda second on the 2A boys all-time list behind Bonanza’s Stephen Dickinson, who cleared 6-10 in 2009. It’s also the best clearance in the state — among all classifications — since 2015.
Only nine high jumpers in state history have ever cleared seven feet.
“He’s got the athletic ability to go up there,” Wickett said. “Once he gets that high he’s got to hit everything just right. I’ve actually known for a long time that that might be coming.”
He’ll get another chance to raise the bar in this weekend’s state championship meet at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
He has plans to attend and compete in track and field at Eugene’s Lane Community College next year and then hopefully the University of Oregon.
Sepulveda cleared 6 feet as a freshman in 2016. In 2018, he claimed a new PR at 6-3 at the district meet and then 6-5 to win the 3A state championship. Jefferson became a 2A school this past fall after state reclassification.
He also won a state title in the triple jump and was sixth in the long jump.
This spring, Sepulveda broke through to 6-6¼ and jumped 6-4 two days before Meet of Champions. His next clearance had him thinking even higher.
“I was like, well, ‘I must have a couple good jumps left in me, I’m just going to go for broke and try seven feet,’” Sepulveda said. “My legs were feeling good, so I’m like, ‘I’m just going to try it.’”
Sepulveda has a busy schedule during most meets. His slate often includes the long and triple jumps and 4x400-meter relay. He usually just does enough to win so that he can move on to his next event.
He qualified for state in all four events at last weekend’s Special District 2 meet.
Sepulveda only jumped a few times in his other field events at the Meet of Champions, which gave him fresher legs for the high jump.
The two-day schedule at the state meet should also help him out.
Sepulveda will have only the triple jump Friday with no preliminaries in the long relay. Saturday, there are two and a half hours between the start of the long jump and high jump competitions.
“This week, it’s going to be taking it a little slower,” he said.
Wickett said he believes the extra rest and preparation times between individual events could lead to personal bests in all three.
Sepulveda has set new PRs in the long jump (20-11½) and triple jump (43-10) this season. His new triple jump best came at the district meet, held at Kennedy in Mount Angel.
He leads 2A in the triple jump and is third in the long jump, less than seven inches behind Santiam’s Brody Davidson on this season’s best marks.
Sepulveda will have stiff competition in the triple jump. Oakland’s Kevin Meier has jumped 43-8½ this spring. Monroe’s Zach Young will challenge in the high and long jumps.