BELGRADE — Saturdays are fun for Jefferson’s Avery Stiles.
“It’s always fun. It’s always cool to meet new people, too — I always meet new people from different schools,” Stiles said. “Different jumpers and seeing how people jump differently is fun to watch.”
At the Gallatin Valley Invitational this year, Stiles’ new friend was Dillon’s Michael Haverfield. Together they raised the bar to the day’s winning jump of 6 feet, 6 inches. But Stiles doesn’t just take the win and move on. He usually ends up competing against himself. Most recently it’s beating his own school record jump of 6-08.
Stiles values the push he gets from his fellow competitors, and if he had to choose between an easy sweep and a neck-and-neck fight …
“I would rather it be down to neck-and-neck,” he laughed. “Just the competitiveness, knowing that I have to do a little bit better than the next guy, just gets my adrenaline going a little bit more than when I’m just by myself.”
The 2018 Class B state champ is only a junior and has already qualified for the 2019 state meet. While Stiles can breathe a little, he is still hard at work.
“Just to make sure I stay healthy and pace myself when I’m jumping just so I don’t come in at a low height,” he said. “And to take as little jumps as I need when jumping and to try to clear it the first attempt and make sure I really focus on my technique and approach.
“State (is) the meet that counts the most out of all of them. I’m looking forward to (it), so yeah, it’s basically fine-tuning until state.”
One might think he’s accomplished just about everything, but not quite.
“The goal is to beat the Class B state record, which is 6-09, so I’m right there,” he said.
Just one more inch for Stiles.