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January 21, 2014

High Jump Central

North Andover clears the bar with numbers, talented jumpers

(Continued)

“Joe has come a long way, but I can’t say who is the most consistent,” said Burbank. “It seems like it’s someone different every meet.

“There is definitely a lot of talent. After every meet, I’m reporting the (high jump) scores as 9-0 or 8-1 for us.”

On the girls side, sophomore Catherine Flaherty leads a talented corps. She cleared 5-2 on a consistent basis last year and already owns the school record at 5-6.

The volume of talented jumpers feeds on itself by creating competition within the ranks. “I know that motivates me,” said Staudt. “It makes you want to work a little harder.”

But it’s not just raw talent that has elevated the Knights according to Staudt, who was mainly a hurdler last year. Burbank has a lot to do with it, too.

“Coach Burbank is amazing,” he said. “None of us would be where we are without him. He gives us good advice and he pushes us, but he knows when to stop, when you’ve done it enough.”

According to Burbank, knowing when to stop jumping to wait for another day is important.

“Beyond natural talent, to be a good high jumper, you need to have a willingness to learn and have patience,” he said. “If you knock the bar down — and everybody does it — you need to try again, and maybe not right away, and not get frustrated. A lot of it is mental.”

Whatever the case, it may be time to anoint the Knights.

Why not? Penn State was known in college football for years as “Linebacker U” for its outstanding linebackers and Stanford is among a number of schools claiming to be “Quarterback U.”

In a similar vein, for the time being, it’d probably be appropriate to call North Andover “High jump Central.”

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