SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - The preview on
the high jump is the eleventh in the series of preview articles for the San
Antonio Metro area. The area is blessed with a large number of State-level
jumpers as well as a deep group that is just below the elite level. I would be
surprised if the area did not produce multiple State champions this year.
Armando Acevedo is a big-time wide receiver for the Brennan Bears, but in the Spring he is the top high jumper in the area. Acevedo was the Regional champion last year and cleared 6-6 at four meets. He is also one of the top triple jumpers in the area.
After Acevedo, the 6A boys high jump is dominated by New Braunfels. They have three returners who have all cleared 6-2. Joshua Minton cleared 6-4 on three occasions and was a District champion last year. His teammates, Jacob Redding and Lance Beeghley, as well as Harlan's Izayah Manchester have all gone 6-2. There are seven other returners who have cleared 6-0. The most well-rounded of the 6-foot jumpers are Brandeis' Lokey Aguero-Munoz who is also a top long and triple jumper and Steele's Kenneth Lott who is a top hurdler, triple jumper and pole vaulter.
Reagan's Mackenzie Dagrosa is the head of the class in 6A girls high jump. She cleared 5-10 early last season and was the Regional champion and fourth place finisher at the State meet. She has already gone 5-8.75 in the 2023 indoor season. Normally, I would say she would be an easy pick as State champ this year, but the top three finishers last year were all underclassmen. Dagrosa is also the top 200-meter runner in the area.
The rest of the division is deep with 12 jumpers who have cleared 5-feet. Kendal McKee from O'Connor cleared 5-4 last year and took fourth in the Region. Judson's Alex Dawson is a 5-2 jumper who will be the favorite her district. Zariah McFadden of Madison and Brooke Ibeck of Warren were the only freshmen in 2022 to clear 5-feet.
The 5A boys will be a division up for grabs this year with no dominant jumper. However, there are 13 returners who have cleared between 5-10 and 6-0. The four who have cleared 6-0 are Deuce Adams (Canyon), Ben Blomqvist (Champion), Deondray Alvarado (Veterans Memorial) and Quinton Jones (Seguin).
Adams, Blomqvist and Champion's Brock Lewis are the most interesting athletes in the group. Adams is an outstanding quarterback for the Cougars and one of the top hurdlers in the area. Blomqvist is also top five in the area in the 400 meters and 110 hurdles. Lewis is the top 110 and 300-meter hurdler in the area and has cleared 5-10.75 at a summer club meet. He has yet to high jump in a high school meet.
Pieper's Caroline Peterson is the reigning 4A State champion and was also the first State champ in school history last year as a freshman. This year she moves up to 5A and is still the top returner in the area, but is no longer the favorite to win the Region. The rest of the top five returners all cleared 5-0 last year.
There are a trio of girls who have gone 5-2: Campbelle Stevens from Alamo Heights, Kennedy Roland from Lockhart and Nicole Wallace from MacArthur. Alamo Heights and Pieper each have three girls who have cleared 4-10.
The 4A boys have a deep group of returners led by Wimberley's Nolan Waida. As a freshman, he cleared 6-0 in his first meet of the season and then struggled to regain that form the rest of the year. My guess would be that a year later will bring more consistency to Waida and could make him a contender at the Regional meet.
After Waida, there are nine athletes who have cleared 5-10 or 5-11. Pleasanton's stud 200-400 sprinter Jayden Palacios went 5-10 at his district meet and then declined to jump at later meets. It will be interesting to see if he will try to keep advancing through the postseason. Canyon Lake has two jumpers who have cleared 5-10 including Marshall McConnell who was the District 28 champion. The runner-up in District 28 was Davenport's Kyler Payne who also has a personal best of 5-11.
The 4A girls have a very strong top five returners. The leader of the pack is Boerne's Kendall Lemm who finished as the State Runner-Up to Caroline Peterson who is now in 5A. Lemm came on strong during the year jumping 5-6 at the Regional meet and then 5-5 at the State meet. Juniper Daniels of Wimberley and Jezzie Leal of Pearsall should each be top contenders this year. Daniels jumped 5-4 and Leal 5-2 last year and both finished in the top-6 at the Regional meet.
After the top three, there is a strong group of high jumpers in the area. Devine's Bailey Oropeza and Davenport's Jerriana McWilliams have each cleared 5-feet and they have teammates, Brooke Thompson and Ashtan Dodson, who have jumped 4-10. One more athlete to mention is Fredericksburg's Cameran Whiting who is ranked in the top five in the area in both hurdle events and has jumped 4-8.
The big name in 3A boys jump events is Jerrick Beaver from Karnes City. Beaver finished sixth in the State in the high jump with a 6-2 clearance and was also a State qualifier in the long jump. Great Hearts Northern Oaks has the top area contender to Beaver in Austin Madrid who is a 6-0 jumper.
Compared to the 4A level, the 3A boys are not nearly as deep with only eight athletes who have cleared at least 5-6. After Beaver and Madrid, the next best jumpers are Randolph's Parker Cabra and Joshua Cornelius of Northern Oaks. Each cleared 5-10 last year. Cabra is also the top hurdler in the area.
The 3A girls are similar to the 3A boys in that it is a fairly shallow group. Tiana James, from the State champion Randolph track team, is the top returning high jumper after clearing 5-1 last year. She was the runner-up at the Area meet in 2022. She is the only returner who has cleared at least 5-0.
Poth's Sadie Dryzmala is the best of the rest. She cleared 4-10 in her only meet last year. Cole has a pair of jumpers who have cleared 4-8, Abby Levings and Aniya Tillman. Levings is also the #1 100-meter hurdler in the area. Randolph has two other jumpers that could score at their District meet this year, Aliana Huesca and Jocelyn Afflerbaugh.
I am combining the private schools, smaller public schools and home school athletes into one group. TMI's Jaylen Gardner will be in contention to be the best high jumper in any classification in the San Antonio area this year. He went 6-6 last year and was third at the State meet.
Gardner is not the only returner who placed at the State meet. Central Catholic's Gary Mejia nabbed fourth place in addition to his State title in the hurdles. San Antonio Christian's Hudson Russell was a State runner-up as a freshman last year. Kanyon Brown from John Paul II nabbed the bronze medal at the State meet. Roman Ivy of Stacey is the top small public school high jumper and the only one in the area who has jumped at least 5-8.
Elaina Craven of Fredericksburg Heritage is the top returner in the area. She came through in the biggest way last year when she posted a 4-inch personal record to take a State title with a clearance of 5-2. She is now a two-time State champion in the event and is clearly the top private school jumper around.
After Craven there is a large number of athletes who have cleared 4-6 or 4-8. Nikki Ralph of D'Hanis has gone 4-8 and was a Regional qualifier at the UIL 1A level last year. Lexi Winship (San Antonio Christian) is the top 100 and 300-meter hurdler in the are and was also a district champion in the high jump last year. I will be interested to see if she tries to make the State meet in all three events.
* Please note that all times are taken from the MileSplit website. There is always a possibility that someone I mentioned no longer competes for the school they did last year or that they are even competing in track and field anymore. These articles are just a very early preview of the upcoming season.