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High jump highlights first day of Big C Relays

Jeremy Peters
Chrisalyn Johnson of Dimond clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Wade Ellis of South wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Fans get an aerial view of the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jesse Williams, 2011 high jump world champion, left, congratulates age-group champion Bruce McBarnette on his efforts as Heath Day of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes watches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Dreanna Owens of Eagle River, left, and Hannah Short of South hit the homestretch in a section of the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jay Ulen of Soldotna grazes the bar at six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. His jump of six feet one inch earned second place in the event.
Erik Hill
Brandon Montalvo of Eielson wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Peggy Mathis of Wasilla runs 59.29 to win the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Mattea Peters runs the anchor leg for Homer in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Nikole Boggs of Eagle River runs to second place in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Reigning world champion high jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or. soars above a bar set at five feet 10 inches as guest athlete at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Maya Tsao-Wu of Grace Christian competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Evonne Johnson, right, hands the baton to Eielson teammate Jazzmyn Williams en route to a win in a section of the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Emily Merioles of Valdez competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Frew Winkle of Grace Christian, left, and Roman Stephan of South battle in a section of the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Stephan barely edged Winkle in the race 54.03 to 54.05.
Erik Hill
Anna Sophia Roberts, right, prepares to hand off to West teammate Melody Lowe in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette of Sterling, Va. clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. McBarnette, an attorney, realtor, and television and movie actor, has won nine age-group world championships and set numerous age-group world records.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Nicholas Jenkins of Service hits the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jordan Black of Colony bears down for the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jasmine Ashby heads home after receiving the baton from South teammate Piper Haley in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Melody Lowe of West heads for the finish line after receiving the baton from Anna Sophia Roberts in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder of Anchorage clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Nieder, a local physician, is a multiple age-group national champion as well as the 2011 age-group world champion.
Erik Hill
Emily Haas, right, closes in to hand off the baton to Service teammate Dajanae Harris as the Cougars win the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Chris Kveseth of Chugiak wins his heat and races to top honors in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. His time of 50.22 was over two seconds faster than the competition.
Erik Hill
Payton Fullmer of Chugiak clears five feet 10 inches in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Leroy Elliott of West misses an attempt in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Elliott cleared five feet 10 inches in the event.
Erik Hill
Tevin Gladden of Lathrop just misses his attempt at six feet four inches before settling for a win in the high jump of six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Guest athlete Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or., center, listens as Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette, left, mentors boys high jump champion Tevin Gladden of Lathrop at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Gladden cleared six feet two inches to win the event. Williams took gold at the 2011 World Championships, and is a two-time Olympian with a best of seven feet nine and one-quarter inches.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Brad Smithwick of Kenai Central runs to a second-place finish in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. He timed 52.49 in the event.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder chats with high school high jump winner Taylir Kueter of Bartlett following action at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Chrisalyn Johnson of Dimond clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Wade Ellis of South wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Fans get an aerial view of the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jesse Williams, 2011 high jump world champion, left, congratulates age-group champion Bruce McBarnette on his efforts as Heath Day of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes watches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Dreanna Owens of Eagle River, left, and Hannah Short of South hit the homestretch in a section of the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jay Ulen of Soldotna grazes the bar at six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. His jump of six feet one inch earned second place in the event.
Erik Hill
Brandon Montalvo of Eielson wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Peggy Mathis of Wasilla runs 59.29 to win the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Mattea Peters runs the anchor leg for Homer in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Nikole Boggs of Eagle River runs to second place in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Reigning world champion high jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or. soars above a bar set at five feet 10 inches as guest athlete at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Maya Tsao-Wu of Grace Christian competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Evonne Johnson, right, hands the baton to Eielson teammate Jazzmyn Williams en route to a win in a section of the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Emily Merioles of Valdez competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Frew Winkle of Grace Christian, left, and Roman Stephan of South battle in a section of the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Stephan barely edged Winkle in the race 54.03 to 54.05.
Erik Hill
Anna Sophia Roberts, right, prepares to hand off to West teammate Melody Lowe in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette of Sterling, Va. clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. McBarnette, an attorney, realtor, and television and movie actor, has won nine age-group world championships and set numerous age-group world records.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Nicholas Jenkins of Service hits the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jordan Black of Colony bears down for the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jasmine Ashby heads home after receiving the baton from South teammate Piper Haley in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Melody Lowe of West heads for the finish line after receiving the baton from Anna Sophia Roberts in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder of Anchorage clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Nieder, a local physician, is a multiple age-group national champion as well as the 2011 age-group world champion.
Erik Hill
Emily Haas, right, closes in to hand off the baton to Service teammate Dajanae Harris as the Cougars win the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Chris Kveseth of Chugiak wins his heat and races to top honors in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. His time of 50.22 was over two seconds faster than the competition.
Erik Hill
Payton Fullmer of Chugiak clears five feet 10 inches in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Leroy Elliott of West misses an attempt in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Elliott cleared five feet 10 inches in the event.
Erik Hill
Tevin Gladden of Lathrop just misses his attempt at six feet four inches before settling for a win in the high jump of six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Guest athlete Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or., center, listens as Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette, left, mentors boys high jump champion Tevin Gladden of Lathrop at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Gladden cleared six feet two inches to win the event. Williams took gold at the 2011 World Championships, and is a two-time Olympian with a best of seven feet nine and one-quarter inches.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Brad Smithwick of Kenai Central runs to a second-place finish in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. He timed 52.49 in the event.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder chats with high school high jump winner Taylir Kueter of Bartlett following action at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Chrisalyn Johnson of Dimond clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Wade Ellis of South wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Fans get an aerial view of the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jesse Williams, 2011 high jump world champion, left, congratulates age-group champion Bruce McBarnette on his efforts as Heath Day of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes watches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Dreanna Owens of Eagle River, left, and Hannah Short of South hit the homestretch in a section of the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jay Ulen of Soldotna grazes the bar at six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. His jump of six feet one inch earned second place in the event.
Erik Hill
Brandon Montalvo of Eielson wins a section of the 110-meter hurdles at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Peggy Mathis of Wasilla runs 59.29 to win the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Mattea Peters runs the anchor leg for Homer in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Nikole Boggs of Eagle River runs to second place in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Reigning world champion high jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or. soars above a bar set at five feet 10 inches as guest athlete at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Maya Tsao-Wu of Grace Christian competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Evonne Johnson, right, hands the baton to Eielson teammate Jazzmyn Williams en route to a win in a section of the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Emily Merioles of Valdez competes in the girls 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Frew Winkle of Grace Christian, left, and Roman Stephan of South battle in a section of the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Stephan barely edged Winkle in the race 54.03 to 54.05.
Erik Hill
Anna Sophia Roberts, right, prepares to hand off to West teammate Melody Lowe in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette of Sterling, Va. clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. McBarnette, an attorney, realtor, and television and movie actor, has won nine age-group world championships and set numerous age-group world records.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Nicholas Jenkins of Service hits the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jordan Black of Colony bears down for the homestretch in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Jasmine Ashby heads home after receiving the baton from South teammate Piper Haley in the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Melody Lowe of West heads for the finish line after receiving the baton from Anna Sophia Roberts in the girls 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder of Anchorage clears the bar in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Nieder, a local physician, is a multiple age-group national champion as well as the 2011 age-group world champion.
Erik Hill
Emily Haas, right, closes in to hand off the baton to Service teammate Dajanae Harris as the Cougars win the 4x100 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Chris Kveseth of Chugiak wins his heat and races to top honors in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. His time of 50.22 was over two seconds faster than the competition.
Erik Hill
Payton Fullmer of Chugiak clears five feet 10 inches in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Leroy Elliott of West misses an attempt in the high jump at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Elliott cleared five feet 10 inches in the event.
Erik Hill
Tevin Gladden of Lathrop just misses his attempt at six feet four inches before settling for a win in the high jump of six feet two inches at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska.
Erik Hill
Guest athlete Jesse Williams of Eugene, Or., center, listens as Masters athlete Bruce McBarnette, left, mentors boys high jump champion Tevin Gladden of Lathrop at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome. Gladden cleared six feet two inches to win the event. Williams took gold at the 2011 World Championships, and is a two-time Olympian with a best of seven feet nine and one-quarter inches.
Erik Hill
The infield is filled with track and field athletes at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill
Brad Smithwick of Kenai Central runs to a second-place finish in the boys 400 meters at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome in Anchorage, Alaska. He timed 52.49 in the event.
Erik Hill
Masters athlete Stacey Nieder chats with high school high jump winner Taylir Kueter of Bartlett following action at the Big C Relays Friday April 5, 2013 at The Dome.
Erik Hill

Executing a high jump is both a complicated and simple task, one that combines a basic knowledge of physics with athletic skill.

A few highly accomplished high jumpers were on hand Friday at The Dome to demonstrate the intricate maneuver for those attending the Big C Relays, a two-day track and field meet hosted by Grace Christian and Anchorage Christian that includes around 1,000 athletes from 40 schools.

Making their first visits to Alaska were two-time Olympian and 2011 world champion high jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene, Ore., and Virginia's Bruce McBarnette, who holds the high jump world record for age 55 and older at 6 feet, 2 inches.

"I think it's awesome that they're able to hold this competition," Williams said. "I'm honored to be here and just have some fun with the kids."

Anchorage's Stacey Nieder, 43, who holds the American women's high jump record at 5-6 for women aged 40-44, joined McBarnette in a friendly competition against some of the state's best high school high jumpers. Nieder took on the girls and McBarnette took on the boys in the event knows as the Masters Challenge.

Nieder managed to top the girls with a jump of 5-2, just ahead of Bartlett sophomore Taylir Keuter (5-0). Lathrop senior Tevin Gladden cleared 6-2 to beat McBarnette, who cleared 5-10.

Gladden nearly cleared 6-4 on his final jump, but clipped the bar with his leg, eliciting groans from onlookers. He was hoping to beat his 6-5 mark from last season's event, though he might have kicked a little late on his final jump.

Williams, 29, showed no trouble clearing the 6-4 mark on one of several jumps he made between competitors' attempts in the Masters Challenge. Williams exerted little effort during his jumps and that's not surprising, considering his personal record is 7-9.25 set at the 2011 USA Outdoor championships.

"It's very demeaning to me," Gladden said of watching Williams. "I don't think it's fair. I think he cheats a little bit."

Williams may have made high jumping look easy, but those who compete know better.

"It's a very difficult sport, because it's counter-intuitive," McBarnette said. "What you're trying to do in the high jump is generate centrifugal force that can cause your body to go into the tumbling motion, and most people don't know much about what that involves. Most people don't even know that you're trying to generate centrifugal force."

McBarnette, 55, seemingly hovers above ground when he approaches the bar for a jump. He glides in and makes a graceful leap that any high jumper would envy.

"When I coach, I call it light and fluffy," Nieder said. "It's so much fun to watch Bruce. He has a wealth of knowledge and it's amazing that he's in his 50s and he can do what he does. It's very inspiring."

Nieder, a doctor with Alaska Family Care Associates, coaches in her spare time and welcomes any kids who want to learn to high jump. Nieder doesn't charge for her lessons and said middle school kids are the easiest to recruit.

"It's very easy because I have a springboard and I have a rubber tubing bar and I have a big cushy pit and if you cannot have fun with that set up, there's something wrong with you," Nieder said.

Keuter, 16, is a high jumper with a bright future, Nieder said, and Keuter has gleaned a tip or two from Nieder. She's studied video of Nieder and watches her closely whenever she gets a chance. Competing and losing to an older competitor Friday was inspiring and motivating, Keuter said, and will make her a better high jumper.

"It's incredible, what they can do," Keuter said. "I would hope I can do that when I get older."

One of the keys to maintaining athletic longevity is to continually train and stay active, McBarnette said. He may not train as hard now as he did when a young man on the Princeton track and field team, but he has trained steadily since and is always prepared for competition. It's a big reason McBarnette has won nine world championships for his age group and 27 USA Track and Field Masters National Championships.

To say McBarnette keeps busy is an understatement. In addition to all his athletic achievements, the attorney is president of a real estate investment company who still finds time to teach courses for several colleges in the Washington D.C. area and partner with an organization called Fit Behavior, which is dedicated to helping people live active, healthy lives. He's also a model and actor who has rubbed shoulders with some big names on big shows.

"I've been in several episodes of 'West Wing', I've also been in 'Law and Order.' " he said. "I've been in 'Salt' with Angelina Jolie and 'Rendition' with Reece Witherspoon and also in 'Jackal' with Bruce Willis. It's a lot of fun doing some professional acting."

McBarnette tries to be a positive role model for kids and tries to help them understand that limiting their lives to just one pursuit is a mistake. He encourages kids to combine athletics with intellectual endeavors, because he's found the two go hand in hand.

"You can do multiple things in life if you devote your time and attention to it," McBarnette said. "That's a very important message, because life can be a lot of fun, but if you limit yourself you might find only doing what's necessary to make a living. If all you're doing is making a living, life can be pretty boring."

 

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

 


By JEREMY PETERS
jpeters@adn.com