Midview senior Jeff Ondo has one final shot to place first in the high jump at the state meet.
Before the track season even began, he was off to a great start.
Ondos attitude and work ethic have changed, which will help him progress throughout the year.
Im doing a lot more lifting this year. In the past, I would start to lift and then, honestly, get lazy and stop doing it, Ondo said. I am actually motivated this year. Im trying to win this year, not just place. Not only that, Ive been working hard on my technique, my approach and trying to perfect it so I can get higher than 6-foot-6 this year my goal is 6-10.
As a sophomore, Ondo competed at state in the high jump in Division I, clearing 6-6, resulting in a fourth-place finish.
He carried the momentum into his junior season, winning the West Shore Conference and D-I district title when he cleared the bar at 6-4.
He placed second at regionals with a jump of 6-3 and finished eighth at state clearing, 6-6 tying a personal best.
Ondo has also been working on a different technique, which he says could help him jump higher.
For my approach for high jump, its all about angles and physics, Ondo said.
Before Id come through my curve, Id be standing straight up, now I am trying to get a good lean so when I plant I actually go up and over rather than just a little bit up and then mostly far … so itll be mostly up and over so I can get higher.
Midview boys track and field coach Kevin Radigan has high regard for Ondo not only as an athlete, but as a mentor for underclassmen.
Hes kind of a freak athlete. He doesnt look it. When you look at high jumpers you usually dont think of Jeff Ondo, Radigan said. Where he is really good is leadership. He wants to be good and he wants to teach kids. The success of the track team in the future is going to come down to how Jeff Ondo leads this team this year. Thats more valuable than anything Its a little bit different in previous years when its been all about Jeff, and now its about Midview and thats going to be a huge advantage for us going into the future.
Ondo, who will be heading to Grand Valley State University to continue his career in high jump, believes that in his final season of high school track and field, he can finish on top.
Im pretty confident I dont want to sound cocky, Ondo said with a laugh. Im confident Ill be able to make it (to state) because I won district the last two years and got first both times My legs are stronger than they ever have been, faster than I ever have been, so that should equate to higher jumping, so Im pretty confident going into this year.