Parsons' Taylor sets sight on state high jump title

Isiah Taylor of Parsons is among the nations best high jumpers. (submitted photo)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
May 28, 2015

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There aren't many people who can high jump 7-feet, in fact only one high school kid in the state of Kansas has accomplished that feat this season. His name, Isiah Taylor, a senior from Parsons High School in the southeastern corner of the state. Taylor has accomplished 7-feet on two different occasions this season.

"I started high jumping in middle school. It's by far my best event. Honestly, looking back I never thought I would be capable of what I am doing today." Taylor said.

Taylor is currently ranked #7 in the United States for the high school boys high jump. His season best last year was 6'8". In fact, Taylor is a guy who thrives to jump at meets, he has never went over 6'8" in a practice. When we asked if 7'0" was a possibility this week it definitely wasn't out of the question.

"First I want to win the meet that is my mindset and nothing else. I think everyone will be expecting to see me jump 7-feet, but I want to get a state record in 4A." Taylor said.

The state record in 4A is held by Dean Herzog of Lansing with a jump of 7'1.75" set in 1974. Taylor has had six attempts at 7'2" this season and just fell short. No jumper in Kansas, at the state meet, has went 7'0" or over since 2003. A 7'2" mark would also tie the best mark in Taylor's league (SEK) history, which was set by Kyle Lancaster of Fort Scott High School back in 2002. Lancaster would later become a multi-time All-American at Kansas State University.

However Taylor knows it's no easy task to get the state title. Two-time defending champion, Drew Davied, of Girard is also in the field. Davied is on pace to become the only boy in Kansas history to win four consecutive high jump titles, but needs two more to do it. Taylor edged him last week at regionals with Davied jumping 6'10. Davied's jump is tied for second in all-classes of Kansas this season. 4A also features Lane Macari of Andale who has went 6'8.25" this season and took second last year. There are eight total jumpers in the class that have went at least 6'6" this season, four that have went at least 6'8". Those eight jumpers are all ranked in the top 20 in Kansas in all classifications.

"4A is tough. Drew Davied from Girard is going to be some tough competition. It makes it a challenge for me and I like that. I think it will take at least 6'10 to win the event." Taylor said.

Taylors goal is nothing less than a state title, however the senior has already accomplished so much by becoming one of the nations best this season.

"It would mean everything to me to become a state champion. I've done a lot this year to open the eyes of a lot of people. I have worked so hard to be where I am now and it would be the perfect ending to my senior season." Taylor said.

Taylor will compete on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. in Wichita for the 4A boys state high jump title. Follow along with live coverage on twitter from @TrackInKansas.