Phil Feinberg needed a year of trying to clear the 7-foot barrier. He has about a month and a half to go one measly inch.
The Tempe Corona del Sol senior currently holds the third-best mark in the high jump in state history after clearing 7-1 at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships on March 9.
“I was a little surprised that I went that high, that early,” said Feinberg, who was just coming off the varsity basketball season. “That was huge for my confidence. Just knowing that I can get up that high in the early season was huge. I think I can get higher.”
Feinberg will take his next shot at the state record of 7-2 on Saturday when he competes in the seeded invitational portion of the Chandler Rotary Invitational. Feinberg will be joined by two other jumpers who have cleared 6-10 in their careers, Avondale Agua Fria’s Jonsy Simmons and Thatcher’s Dakota John.
“Whenever me and (Jonsy) face off, he always jumps his best and I raise my level,” Feinberg said.
Feinberg cleared 6-10 as a sophomore and had to wait until after his junior season ended to finally crack the 7-foot barrier.
He first did it at the USA Track and Field Junior Nationals on June 22 in Indianapolis.
Like most elite high jumpers, once Feinberg cleared that elusive 7-foot mark, doing it again becomes easier.
“It’s pretty much mental because everything else is habit,” Feinberg said.
“When I’m up there, I try to think I can make this. If you think negative, you are probably not going to make it.”
Feinberg is at the stage of his high school career where anything he does is just icing on the cake.
He has won the 5A high jump title the last two years and has already made his college choice (Louisville.) For him, the last few weeks of high school sports is about soaking it all in.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, enjoying it,” Feinberg said.
“There’s not too much pressure. I want to get the state record, but if I don’t, there’s no sweat off my back.”
67th Chandler Rotary Invitational
Where: Chandler High’s Austin Field, located northwest of the campus near the corner of North Nebraska Street and West Erie Street.
Teams competing: 74 schools are scheduled to have athletes compete in the two-day meet, including five schools from Colorado (Cortez, Littleton, Mountain Vista, Mullen and Thunderridge), three from Texas (Austin, El Paso and Montwood) and Gallup Catholic from New Mexico.
Format: Friday’s competition will be an open meet beginning at 1 p.m. All heats are finals. Saturday is the seeded invitational portion of the meet. Track preliminaries begin at 10:15 a.m. and finals start at 4 p.m. Field events begin at 10 a.m. There will be a team champion crowned from Saturday’s competition.
Rotary Invitational at a glance
Girls 1,600: Loaded field could have several run sub-5:00 times. Xavier freshman
Jessica Tonn should be right in the mix with the likes of Glendale Sandra Day
O’Connor’s Lindsay Prescott, Glendale Mountain Ridge’s Nadya Bishton and Tucson Flowing Wells’ Tara Erdmann.
Girls long jump: Glendale Mountain Ridge’s Amanda Duarte has the top jump in the state early on (18-3), but Mesquite’s Alisha Mah (17-7) and Shamesha Smith of Valley Christian (17-5) are right behind her. Those three meet again today.
Boys pole vault: Two vaulters in the field have already gone over 16-0 this year, led by Desert Vista’s Shea Kearney and Parker Smith of Thunderridge (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
Boys triple jump: Chandler’s Bryce Lamb already holds the
state record in this event, but Desert Vista’s Luke Matthews and Mountain Pointe’s Will Claye are both capable of breaking off big jumps. Don’t be surprised to see three jumpers over 46 feet.