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May 8, 2014

UIL STATE TRACK: Leaping for gold

Trinidad’s Bannister set to compete in high jump at state meet

TRINIDAD — When it comes to dealing with pressure situations, Trinidad senior Dustin Bannister knows what it is like as an athlete.

For the first time, Bannister will face his toughest competition at the state track and field meet on Friday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

“I need to go out there and compete and do the best that I can,” Bannister said. “I have not had a chance to see them and coach told me the top kid jumped 6 foot, 4 inches so I think I can beat that.”

Bannister qualified as one of the nine best high jumpers in Class A-Division II with his best jump of 6 feet at the regional meet.

“Going into regionals I was jumping 5 foot, 10 inches and they were jumping 6 foot.,” Bannister said. “When we got to six foot, I was the first one to get it and the other guy was stratching. I knew I did not have great form but I was just jumping.”

Bannister will be going in as the No. 7-seed at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

He is two inches short of a podium finish as Utopia’s Luke Killough and Rankin’s Michael Rodriguez have cleared 6 foot, 2 inches this year.

“I am going to be nervous because I have always had moments that get me nervous,” Bannister said. “I can always find a way to fight through it and I want to make sure to go bigger and better.”

Bannister said he would like to be able to clear 6 foot, four inches at the state meet — which is the current height of Blackwell’s Matthew Lowry.

He said the preparation has been good this week as he has spent time in the gym working on his strength and his form.

He said he has also been working on his leg strength doing squats and playing basketball to help with his leaping ability.

Bannister continues the streak of Trojans who have made it to the state meet as Jordan Dowell advanced to the meet last year as a senior.

Dowell finished in eighth place last year in the shot put.

“It is going to be amazing being a senior and finally getting to go to state will be special,” Bannister said. “I would like to hit 6 foot, 4 inches at Austin and I want to just have fun at the meet.”

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