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Sports

January 21, 2014

High Jump Central

North Andover clears the bar with numbers, talented jumpers

Dana Burbank admits that he’s becoming a master in time management.

It’s nothing he planned but, as a school guidance counselor and — more important — the sixth-year high jump coach at North Andover, it’s a quality that has become a necessity.

“It’s a challenge getting everyone the practice time they need,” said Burbank, a 2003 North Andover graduate and the school record holder (6-7) in the high jump. “When one group is done on the (high jump) mat, I’ve got to go right to the next. Some kids want to stay longer, but they can’t.”

The problem, and this is a problem that most coaches would love to have, is that the Knights are flooded with high jumpers, about 20 overall among the boys and girls, and most of them are either quality jumpers or have good potential.

That was displayed perfectly the weekend before last when the Knights’ boys finished both first (with their so-called B group) and second (the A group) and the girls were runner-up at the state relays championships.

“Just putting in a second team was unprecedented — I don’t think it’s ever happened,” said Burbank, who jumped for Stonehill College. “Then to place first and second was unreal. It was a shock.

“We have a big pool to draw from. We have some quality kids and a lot of newcomers who have improved really fast. We probably could have put in a third team that could score.”

The newcomer who has improved the most is junior Owen Jordan. Having cleared just 5-8 previously, he soared to 6-1 at the state relays, giving his trio that included Anthony Christian and Xavier Laguerre the title.

The second group that day consisted of Wynn Bourassa, Joe Staudt and Patrick Wolfgang. Bourassa is somewhat of a team leader according to Burbank while Staudt has cleared 5-10 several times and has seemed the most consistent, although Burbank can’t confirm that.

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