COLUMBUS — Mykale Rogers had been here before. And that was a good thing.
The Lima Central Catholic junior won the Division III boys state long jump title for a second year in a row Friday at the state track meet.
And for the second year in a row he had to deliver a big jump under pressure late in the competition to become a state champion.
Rogers and his teammate Jamir Coleman, also a junior, finished 1-2 in the long jump.
Rogers’ winning jump was 22 feet, 6 ¾ inches. Coleman took second place at 22 feet, 5 inches.
But it wasn’t until Rogers’ next-to-last jump in the final round that he passed Coleman.
When he won his first title last June, Rogers led throughout the competition until Austin Carleton of Buckeye Trail grabbed the lead on his final jump of the day. Rogers responded with an even better leap on his last attempt for the win.
“It was a lot like last year, the pressure was pretty much the exact same. I just had to step up and make one good jump,” he said.
Rogers also finished runner-up in the state in the long jump as a freshman in 2011.
Coleman, who was seventh at state last year, said he and Rogers talked about being on the top two steps of the podium at state all year.
“It’s what we always planned for. Ever since Day One, we just knew, him and me 1-2, we just didn’t know who was going to get what,” Coleman said.
Rogers said he got off a nearly perfect jump to beat his teammate.
“Everything was perfect, it was everything I’d been taught. It was a great jump and I’m glad to be No. 1 again,” he said.
“The first jump (in the final round) I was an inch behind him, and I didn’t touch the board so I moved my mark up a little bit and touched the board and reached out there for it.
“I can’t put it into words. It’s a great feeling. But I have to fight through it tomorrow. We’ve got two relays left. I can’t celebrate yet,” Rogers said.
Nick Taflinger, Darius West, Coleman and Rogers qualified fastest in the 800-meter relay (1:29.71) and in the 400-meter relay (43.23) on Friday. So there is the possibility of two more trips to the top step of the winner’s stand today.
Coleman said, “It feels great being the No. 1 time but like I said at regionals, nothing is guaranteed. You just have to go out and do our best and go home with another gold.”
Rogers (back) and West (ankle) both scratched from the 200-meter dash qualifying on Friday.
Lima Central Catholic's Mykale Rogers