Story and photos by Jessie Vanderson
MARANA – He suddenly appeared at the far edge of the high jump pad, as if he had just stepped up from an arroyo. He stared for several moments at the gulf between him and the biggest challenge of his young athletic life. Across from him stood the high jump bar resting at 7 feet, 2.50 inches. He had failed to clear the bar in his first two attempts. His third and final attempt would be all or nothing.
First rocking back and forth at the chest with a slight bounce of his knees he was in motion – first a hop step, then a walk, then with an explosive burst he sprinted into the high jump apron and launched skyward.
Celebratory cheers erupted across his home track – he had cleared the bar by over an inch. In an historic feat, Justice ‘Slim’ Summerset, a senior at Marana’s Mountain View High School, set a new Arizona boys’ high school high jump record. He won the high jump competition Saturday morning at the Southern Arizona High School Track and Field Championships at Mountain View High.
Summerset’s mark eclipsed a state-record that was only two years old. Phoenix North Canyon High senior Bryant O’Georgia cleared the bar at 7-2.25 on his first attempt while winning the Division I boys high jump at the 2014 Arizona state championships at Mesa Community College.
“This was my last meet here at home, and I just wanted to go out with a big statement,” said Summerset, who will join O’Georgia at the University of Arizona this fall. “The state record was a perfect way to go out.”
He had been stalking the historic mark since the start of the track and field season back in February. He cleared 7-feet in his first meet of the season, a duel meet at sister Marana District school Marana High. Last week, Summerset got over the bar at 7-feet while winning the high jump at the Mario Castro Invitational at the University of Arizona. He was the first prep jumper in the nation this spring to clear 7-feet. His 7-2.50 mark is the top clearance in the country so far this spring.
In addition to a successful track and field high school career, Summerset has also been the star quarterback and starting safety for the Mountain Lion football team for the last three years. “I can definitely focus more on my events now without football,” said Summerset of his break through season. “I am actually doing a lot more events this year, running and what not. It is helping me with my speed on my turn. Everything came together here at the end of the season.”
Summerset is the overwhelming favorite to win the Division II state championship in the boys’ high jump next at Mesa Community College. He finished tied for second in that competition last year. He will also be a threat to take the state title in the Div. II long jump. He finished 10th in the long jump at state last year.