At this point in the season, Zach Budda doesn’t need to make much tweaking to his game.
For Budda, it’s more about staying in shape as he prepares for the high jump at the state track and field meet this weekend at Cessna Stadium on Wichita State’s campus.
Budda is looking to improve on his sixth-place performance last year at State and his third-place performance at last week’s regional meet in Towanda.
“I’m feeling good. I’ve been battling shin splints all year, and they’re just now getting better,”?Budda said. “It’s just different at State. You have everybody there, you have to do your best.”
Budda expects nothing less than to win it all, but knows that there will be plenty of tough competition. If not first, he still wants to be in the top three. Luckily for him, he dealt with that last week at Circle. Three of the top four Class 4A?seeds came out of that Regional.
“That gives you a preview of what’s going to happen,’ Budda said.
Budda and the 4A?boys jumpers will begin competition at 11 a.m. Saturday. Budda will be seeded No. 4 after a mark of 6 feet, 6 inches. Andale’s Garrison LeRock, a junior who won the Circle regional championship, has the top seed at 6’8”. Smoky Valley’s Nick Deterding is seeded No. 2 at 6’7” and Cheney’s Hunter Veith, who won the tiebreaker with Budda last week, is No. 3 at 6’6”.
“We’re all right there in that little group. It’ll be fun and interesting,”?Budda said.
Those four likely will be fighting for the top spots. The next four seeds are coming in at 6’2”.
His highest jump this season is 6’8” at the El Dorado meet, which set the new school record and added a highlight to an already decorated career.?Budda knows he might have to get at least that to win the championship, but he feels confident he can.
During his practice Wednesday afternoon with blustery winds, Budda was jumping off a block to help get him higher in the air to focus on what he does in the air, such as arching his back. He was clearing the bar regularly at a high setting.
He’ll continue to practice the remainder of the week leading to State.
To top off everything, Budda will be competing at the course where he’ll be practicing next year as a Division-I athlete for Wichita State.
But he doesn’t want to focus on that just yet. Right now, he has a medal in his sights.
-It might’ve been disappointing for coach Steve Reichardt that Zach Budda was the only Oriole to qualify for the state track meet, but he isn’t going to let that belittle what the team accomplished this year.
“It wasn’t the results we wanted. We were really surprised, we thought we could sneak a couple more in, and we were close to sneaking a couple more in,”?Reichardt said. “But you know, it is what it is. We felt good about how the kids competed, and that’s true all year long.”
To help Budda, Reichardt is trying to keep things simple in the final week.
“Just try to keep everything positive. Talk about the positives,” Reichardt said. “Make sure he realizes he’s right in the mix. He’s just as good as everybody there. It’s just who shines that day.”