Daily Egyptian

All-American disappointed with performance

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

Becoming an All-American should be a substantial accolade, but is was dissatisfying for the No. 8 high jumper in the nation.

Sophomore jumper Kyle Landon finished tied for seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month.

“I was unsatisfied,” he said. “Everyone has their downfalls but I’m ready to pick it back up this outdoor season.”

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Coach Connie Price-Smith said Landon should be happy with being an All-American but likes that he wanted more. 

“If you’re satisfied and pleased, you don’t have anything to strive for,” she said. “He wanted to finish a lot higher and he could have finished a lot higher.” 

Landon tied his outdoor high jump record of 2.20 meters, which is No. 5 all-time outdoors at SIU, on April 11. Last year, 2.20 meters tied Landon for third at the national meet.

Landon said he still has a lot to improve on.

“I’m hit and miss most times,” he said. “I’m more consistent than I was last year, so that is a good thing.”

Jumps coach Andre Scott said Landon can become more steady by improving on form, running approaches and the technique over the bar. He said Landon is hitting his technique correctly nearly every time over the bar this year.

Scott said he has had to change Landon’s approach because of his increased strength in the weight room. He said Landon needs to stay determined in the competition.

“[Landon] gets over a couple bars and is like ‘Oh, I’m good,’ and just relaxes,” he said. “That’s when his form breaks down.”

Scott said Landon has missed 2.24 meters multiple times this year, which would be an inch-and-a-half improvement on his outdoor personal record. He said the hardest part will be qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

“Once you get to that meet, anything can happen,” he said. “Once you’ve done that, just go for broke.”

In his young career, Landon has not faltered in Missouri Valley Conference Championship competition, having won all three high jump championships he has competed for.

On April 25, Landon participated in the triple jump for the fourth time in his collegiate career. He finished sixth with a distance of 14.66 meters at the A-State Red Wolves Open in Jonesboro, Ark.

Landon said he wants to continue competing in the triple jump.

“I like doing more than one event,” he said. “Specializing in one event, if you are stressing out in the one event you don’t have anything else to fall back on.”

Scott said he wants athletes to compete in multiple events and said the bounding, or jumping Landon does in his approach helps him in each event.

Scott said Landon will not continually compete in the triple jump because he does not want to risk an injury for the sophomore in an event he will not go to nationals for.

“If you’re a [7-foot, 3-inch] high jumper, why are you going to mess around with these events you’re not going to go to nationals in?” he said. “You can get hurt in any event… I would rather you get hurt doing your specialty event.”

Price-Smith said she loves having athletes who have the drive and desire to do everything and be a team player — a characteristic she said is uncommon in this day-in-age. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269. 

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