Jeff Boschee soars to Class A high jump title repeat for Blackhawks

May 25—SIOUX FALLS — Jeff Boschee came into the Class A state track and field meet determined to defend his state high jump title.

On Thursday, after a head-to-head battle with a familiar Region 5A jumper to decide the state champion, the Sanborn Central/Woonsocket junior again proved gravity remains his stiffest competition.

With a leap of 6 feet, 7.25 inches, Boschee matched a personal record set earlier this season to win the title and give him the first, second and third-best marks in South Dakota this season, regardless of class.

"I'm feeling really, really good," Boschee said through a wide smile. "I came in confident, and the whole time I did what I wanted to do. Today was good; very, very good."

By the time the bar reached 6 feet, 4 inches, just two jumpers remained — Boschee and Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reed Rus. Taking the time to encourage one another as the bar continued to climb, both Boschee and Rus cleared 6-4, which tied Rus' personal-best set last season. But as Boschee sailed over the bar at 6-5, Rus bowed out on attempts, securing Boschee's championship repeat.

"We made it entertaining," Boschee said of going back and forth with Rus. "We're friends and we're always jumping against each other. It's fun to compete against him."

"That's what sports are all about," Rus added on the friendly exchanges with each other amid the championship competition. "Being able to cheer each other on like that and being No. 1 and No. 2 in Class A high jump is really exciting and adds another dimension to competing."

Even though it was already two inches higher than his championship-winning height from 2022, Boschee wasn't done at 6 feet, 5 inches. With a pre-meet goal of reaching 6-8 for the first time, Boschee cleared two more heights at 6-6.25 and 6-7.25 before his run ended with three attempts at 6 feet, 8.25 inches.

Tate Gerdes, of Lennox, claimed third place at 6-2 ahead of a six-way tie at 6-0 for fourth that more than filled out the podium places. Region 5A was further represented in the tie by Ethan Parkston's Gage Hohn and Kimball/White Lake's Dawson Miller. Others included Florence/Henry's Adam Moe, Tea Area's Ethan McKnelly, Great Plains Lutheran's Lucas Johnson and Lennox's Layton Smith.