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McMonigle ready for NCAA Championship

Junior to jump at 2:30 p.m. Friday

March 9, 2011

Braden McMonigle will eye the high jump bar at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

Braden McMonigle will eye the high jump bar at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

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Braden McMonigle is not a prototypical high jumper. At 5 feet 11 inches, the Wilmington College junior is always looking up at the bar he is about to clear.

On Friday, McMonigle will compete with the nation’s best jumpers in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship at Capital University.

McMonigle (Monroe/Lemon-Monroe) will likely be one of the shortest jumpers in the field, but his stature is more than offset by flawless mechanics.

“I’ve really worked hard on increasing my speed toward the bar,” McMonigle said. “It really helps me carry over once I get to the top. That’s really what’s doing it. I don’t have the advantage of being 6-5 or 6-6. Those guys can jump a lot higher than I can, so I have to rely on mechanics, the technique — bending at the bar is what gets me over. I can bend around the bar, and some of the guys can’t. I take pride in that.”

McMonigle qualified for the NCAA meet by jumping an indoor school-record 6-9 at the Otterbein Invitational on Jan. 22 — an effort that was the fifth-best jump in the nation this season.

Unbeaten in five meets, McMonigle’s biggest challenge was provided by an ankle injury. After missing three meets in mid-season, he came back to win the Ohio Athletic Conference title with an effort of 6-6.75.

“I’m feeling good. I’m starting to come back and get into the groove of things,” McMonigle said. “Hopefully, I can come out and kill it this weekend.”

When competition begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday, McMonigle will be making his debut in the NCAA indoor meet. Big meets, however, are not unfamiliar to the Quaker jumper. He earned All-America honors with an eighth-place finish at the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet and finished 10th at the 2010 outdoor championship. His presence at this year’s indoor meet, he said, is the result of a renewed commitment to off-season training.

“I came in last fall expecting to do well at this meet,” McMonigle said. “I set my sights on the indoor meet. I’m going to let the indoor meet cross over to the outdoor season.”

McMonigle’s goal is to clear a bar that perches more than a foot above his head — a feat he nearly accomplished last spring when he jumped an outdoor school-record 6-10.25 at the OAC Black Meet. He knows it will take a similar effort Friday to climb to the top of the awards podium.

“I plan to come in around 6-6,” he said. “We’ll see how I feel in warm-ups before making a final decision. I like jumping at Capital — I’m used to it. It’s good to be somewhere you have jumped and somewhere you are comfortable with.”