“I didn’t think I’d even come close to that,” Queen said. “The bar looked so high. It always looks high.”
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Yet, Queen keeps raising it. He will compete in the Division III state track and field championships at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Friday. Queen won the district last season but struggled at regional. It was there he resolved to qualify for state.
“He told me the first day at practice this year, ‘I’ve been waiting a long time to get back here. We’re going to do it this year,’ ” Ranard said. “I believed him. I keep telling him he’s a perfect high jumper because in life he has high standards and on the apron he had high standards.”
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Queen tied for second at the D-III regional in Troy last Friday, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches. He lost the tiebreaker with more misses.
“(Qualifying for state) was one of the best moments in my life, for sure,” he said. “One of my dreams came true right there. My goal was to get there at some point, but I didn’t know if it would come this soon. … I couldn’t do this without (Ranard).”
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Queen had some emotional support from his classmates and teammates as well. Northeastern head coach Cindy Erwin encouraged the Jets to support Queen in his bid for state. Some still come to practice with Queen even though the season has ended for them.
“It’s really nice,” he said. “Last year when I went to regional there was nobody, just me and my coach. It’s really nice to have support from my classmates.”
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“We’ve got several kids go and practice with him because, one, they like him and, two, they enjoy seeing someone going to the heights he’s going to,” Ranard said. “That makes a difference to Max. We’re kind of by ourselves on the apron. That support makes a difference.”
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Queen enters state with a season-best effort of 6-2. The top qualifying jump from all four regional meets was 6-6. Another qualifier cleared 6-5 and four others 6-4 to be considered among the favorites. Queen’s career best is 6-4, which he cleared last season.
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“He’s got it in him and he’s about to that peaking point,” Ranard said. “He has it in him to compete at the top with the other gentlemen that will be there. … We just want him to be up on the boxes (as a state placer). I told him the pressure is off of him. It’s on the kids with the 6-5, 6-6 jumps. We have nothing to lose.”
AREA D-III BOYS
Northeastern: Max Queen, jr., high jump.
Southeastern: Charlie Bertemes, jr., discus.
West Liberty-Salem: Ralph LeVan, sr., 400.
AREA D-III GIRLS
Catholic Central: Addie Engel, so., 1600, 3200.
West Liberty-Salem: Grace Adams, so., 4x800 relay; Madison Bahan, fr., 4x800 relay; Reghan Bieleski, sr., 4x800 relay & 4x400 relay; Alex Burton, so., 4x100 relay; Janie Kopus, sr., 4x100 relay & 4x400 relay; Taylor Lauck, sr., 4x100 relay & 4x400 relay; Kaylee LeVan, fr., 4x100 relay; Katelyn Stapleton, fr., 1600, 4x800 relay & 4x400 relay.