And both couldn’t have happened at more opportune times.
The setting this time was O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University at Charleston, well technically it was indoors on account of rain.
King finished second to Kretchmer last year at state and second again to Kretchmer at sectionals this year, but this time things were different.
King’s first-ever flight over the bar at 7 feet didn’t faze Kretchmer as he sailed over the standard easily also.
But when King cleared 7’1” with room to spare, things got sticky for Kretchmer. His first two attempts at 7’1” weren’t close. He almost got over on the last attempt as the bar hung on the standard but finally fell and the IHSA had a new high jump “king” named Alex.
King’s leap of 7’1” was the best of the meet as Chester’s Class A stud Kyle Landon took home honors with a jump of 6’10” and Fox Lake’s Jonathan Wells leapt 6’11” to take Class AAA honors.
The Class A event was scheduled outdoors, but officials moved the AA finals indoors due to persistent rain.
That suited King just fine. “I prefer inside because you don’t have to mess with conditions like this, wind and rain and everything. I don’t believe I would have done 6’10” outdoors because I was slipping so much. It would have been hard,” he said.
King becomes the second high jumper from Massac to bring home the champion’s medal. Van Reed soared 7’2” in 1991 to win a state championship.
Southern Illinois is home right now to the best jumpers in the state with King, Kretchmer and Landon. In addition to the elite threesome, Egyptian’s Alex McCrite brought home a second place finish with a jump of 6’5” in Class A competition.
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