High School Sports

Andover duo put rivalry on backburner

Every day in track and field practice, Andover senior Danielle Robinson strives to be the state champion in high jump.

But some days in practice, Robinson, who took second last year in Class 5A, isn't even the best on her team.

Enter sophomore Kimberly Clark, who has the same goal. So is there any tension there?

"She's actually the best friend I could possibly ever have," Robinson said. "It gets really, really hard because it sucks having your best friend be your biggest competitor."

It's not unusual for Robinson and Clark to sweep the top two spots in the high jump and do the same in the triple jump. At times, it creates an awkward feeling.

"I want to beat her," Robinson said. "But then again, she's my best friend and I want her to do well too."

Andover coach Mike Lee teaches both girls in class and observes them in practice; he said it's the best kind of rivalry to have.

"I think it's a friendship that has a rivalry underneath the surface," Lee said. "The two of them are good friends and they're not going to show that rivalry until you get to some really competitive moments, then you're going to find out that they want to beat the other."

Speed to spare — Heights boys coach Steve Crosley wouldn't mind the addition of a few more legs to the 400-meter relay.

With a stable of sprinters and the third-fastest time in Class 6A, the Falcons have found success under anonymity.

"We've got at least six guys I think we could shift around if we needed to and still run a pretty good time," Crosley said. "I don't think any of them could win in the open sprints, but I think they could do some damage."

Leadoff leg Lewis Taylor is a successful hurdler, and Billy Littlejohn and Aaron Logan run solid times in the 100, but rarely compete the open 100-meter dash. The team's anchor, Skylarr Gatson, is the best known in the group of unknowns.

Crosley even has Dreamius Smith, who has run a 10.9 in the 100 this season, as a reserve.

"It's a pretty nice luxury to have," Crosley said.

About average — Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for Andale coach Greg Smarsh when his girls team scored 179 points at the Augusta Invitational last week.

"That's about our average," he said.

After scoring 11 points last year at the state meet, the Indians will likely increase that total with more depth.

Jeffi Holman (sprints), Abby Simon (sprints, long jump), Jessica Vaughn (jumps), Sam Schueller (discus), Aimi Orton (throws) and pole vaulters Emily Rowland, Natalie Schauf and Kim Friedrichs have a chance to do well at state.

"This year we've got some pretty good, quality athletes," Smarsh said. "Week-in and week-out they seem to be doing pretty well."