Jim Dilling, the 2007 USA high jump champion, finished 6th in his event on Sunday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The Minnesota State, Mankato graduate cleared 7-5 3/4.
Dilling’s training partner, the Oregon Track Club’s Jesse Williams, won the event with a leap of 7-9 ¼, a new championship and Hayward Field record. Dustin Jonas was second at 7-7 and Erik Kynard was third, at Dilling’s height of 7-5 3/4.
Dilling’s result marked the best finish at a USA Outdoor Championship since his shock victory three years ago.
“It was pretty good,” the four-time NCAA Division II high jump champion said of effort. “I sat out last year – I had two surgeries, I was out for 19 months. So, to come back here, finish 6th, jump 2.20 [meters], it’s actually a centimeter higher than I won nationals with. I’ve just got to go up another three [places] next year.”
Dilling negotiated the first three heights of the competition -- 7-0 ½, 7-2 ½, and 7-4 ¼ -- without a miss before making his final height on the third attempt. The late misses proved costly, however.
“Erik Kynard, who I train with down at Kansas State, he jumped clean to 2.28,” Dilling noted. “He made the world team. I jumped the same height – third attempt – I finished 6th. It’s huge at this level.”
Still, after suffering from a bone spur in his heal that was causing micro tears to his Achilles tendon, Dilling saw positives in the day. He attained the Olympic "B" standard for 2012 and hopes to jump again this year at the "A" qualifier of 7-7.
The Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin native who made his high jumping name in Mankato is currently based in Manhattan, Kansas where he trains with a group led by Cliff Rovelto, the Kansas State coach. Dilling joined Revelto’s group after he met the jumps guru as a member of the USA’s World Championships team in 2007.
Dilling hopes to find a spot on the USA’s Pan American Games team later this season. His next competition is the Harry Jerome Classic in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 1.
Other Minnesota Action … Dilling’s fellow MSU-Mankato alumnus Katelin Rains finished in a tie for 8th-place in the women’s pole vault competition. Rains, the NCAA Division II record-holder in the event, cleared the opening height of 13-9 ¼. She had three misses at the next height, 14-1 ¼.
Samantha Sonnenberg, the University of Minnesota co-school record-holder in the pole vault, was unable to clear the opening height today.
Sonnenberg’s former University of Minnesota teammate Liz Roehrig had a difficult second day in the heptathlon, finishing 11th after starting the day in 8th place.
Roehrig opened Day 2 with a 19-0 ¾ long jump, threw 118-1 in the javelin, and ran 2:32.35 in the 800m for a total of 5497 points, well off her personal best of 5990.
In the exhibition masters 1500m race run at the meet, Minnesota middle-distance star Lance Elliott finished runner-up in 4:02.72. Originally listed as the event’s 3rd-place finisher, Elliott moved up a spot when the apparent winner was disqualified.
Find complete results of the meet HERE.