Zach Skimbo and Brandon Conrad went jump for jump at last year’s Class 5A state track meet. Skimbo, a senior at McAlester at the time, narrowly prevailed via a tiebreaker (fewer jumps) against Conrad.
Conrad, who was a junior representing Tahlequah High School, missed clearing the high-jump bar at 6 feet, 8 inches by a fraction of an inch.
And it’s the jump at 6 feet, 8 inches that Conrad still thinks about — instead of Skimbo finishing with the gold medal.
“I honestly don’t think about him beating me as much as I think jumping 6-8,” Conrad said. “That’s the only thing that motivates everyone.”
Conrad will have a chance to atone for his miss at 6 feet, 8 inches this weekend, when he heads to Yukon for the 5A state meet. When asked what it’ll take to claim a state title, his answer was resounding simple.
“Jumping 6-8,” he said. “If I do I know I’ll come out with a win.”
Conrad enters the state meet after claiming a regional championship at home last weekend. He beat Coweta’s Tyler Guymon by being the only one to scale the bar at 6 feet, 2 inches.
But that’s not Conrad’s best performance to date.
At the Booker T. Washington meet in mid April, Conrad was the lone jumper to eclipse the 6-feet, 6-inch mark. He did that while going up against Claremore’s Hunter Garroutte and Reid Joyner and Hale’s Keejuan Clark.
All three of those jumpers figured to pose the biggest threat to Conrad in his pursuit of the gold medal.
“The Claremore jumpers are always the biggest threat,” Conrad said. “I haven’t seen the Southeast kid (Jashawn Talton) jump this year, but I know Joyner and Clark are good jumpers. I’m not to worried. I know if I come in and do what I do, I’ll win.”