The Heidelberg University sophomore stands just 5-10, small in stature for a high jumper, but instruction in technique by one of the nation’s top jumpers has him ranked seventh in the country in Division III. His leap of 6-feet-9.5 at a meet last weekend in an eight-team invitational in Tiffin was his personal best.
“I would have never expected to make that height due to the cold wind on Saturday, but I felt right,” the 20-year old double major (accounting and business administration) said. “More importantly, I nicked the bar with me heel on my final attempt at 6-10.25. Now I know reaching that height is just a matter of time.”
Fritz, the son of Chuck and Sue Fritz and a St. Paul grad, already has qualified for the Div. III Nationals held in May at The Spire Track and Field facility in Geneva.
But, first things first. Fritz will compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference Meet this weekend at Muskingum College.
“My coaches, head track coach at Heidelberg, Joe Yoder, and my jump coach, Jonas Elusme, have me on schedule to make a true run at the school record held by Nathan Davis at 6-11.5 outside and 7-0.25 inside,” Fritz said. “I am still working on the springboard and with heavy weights at this time, but I will taper off in the weight room when Coach Elusme wants me to start giving my body a rest. That time of rest is like a regenerating period for the system. After down time, the muscles are ready to respond for new PR’s.”
Elusme also has Fritz working in the long jump, an event he believes has helped him on the high jump runway.
“Coach Elusme talked me into it last year,” Fritz explained. “I was apprehensive at first, believing I could get hurt with all those attempts before I even take part in what I know is my strongest event. But, I can see it has helped me with my speed. I am jumping in the 20’s right now and that’s not bad considering this is only my second year. I am improving and getting points for the team and that is the bottom line.”
Fritz will long jump on Friday and go after that elusive 6-10.25 on Saturday. If he makes that height, it would move him to No. 2 in the country behind the only a 7-foot jumper in Division III in the country.
A second St. Paul graduate, junior Olivia Hipp, will be competing in three events at the OAC meet this weekend, her strongest event, also the high jump, the long jump and the javelin.
The daughter of Kevin and April Hipp who is majoring in athletic training, has been a mainstay on Yoder’s women’s team for three years.
“I have always loved track and field competition,” Hipp said. “I lettered four years at St. Paul making it to the state in the high jump as a junior. My high school best was 5-2.5. I have improved to 5-4.25 at Heidelberg. That is the second-best height among OAC jumpers.”
Hipp also is competitive in the long jump. She placed in the conference indoor meet during the winter with a 15-foot leap.
Hipp also will be working in the javelin throw.
“I was asked to try it last season and was good enough to place in the conference meet even though I threw in competition just once before the OAC final,” Hipp said.
“I enjoy the long jump and the javelin as I would take to any event the coaches asked me to work in,” Hipp said. “It is the thrill of competition I enjoy.”