Danville's Guest just starting to reach his potential

May 24, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

Jordan Guest knows he is capable of doing some special things in the next few days. But he may just be starting to realize how good he can be.

In essentially two seasons, the Danville senior has become one of the area's best track and field athletes and one of the best long jumpers in all of Class A, where he is the defending champion in his region and a legitimate contender for a state title.

"He's got an incredible athletic body; he's got the size and strength," Danville coach Chris Verhoven said. "He's got the best potential probably of all our track athletes to do the most, because a lot of his potential is untapped."

Guest will be bidding for a second straight title Thursday on the first day of the Class A, Region 4 championships at Richmond, and he figures to do far better at next week's state championships than he did a year ago.


"I've been getting better every week," he said.

Guest is still relatively early in his track and field career. He was on the team as a freshman but skipped his sophomore year before returning last year, and most of his progression has come over the last two seasons.

He has been No. 1 in the long jump

The statewide coaches' rankings have placed him No. 1 among Class A boys in the long jump for most of this season, though that was expected to change after he lost to local rival Mark Dunn of Harrodsburg by 1 1/2 inches in Friday's Central Kentucky Conference Championships.

"I got him last year at the region," Guest said.

The battle Thursday between Guest and Dunn figures to be a close one, but both are likely to qualify for the state meet June 4-5 in Lexington.

That's where Guest hopes to erase the memory of a disappointing day at the end of last season, when he failed to make the finals in the long jump.

"I guess I was nervous," he said. "It was my first time being at state, but I'm used to it now."

"He'd been jumping so well at the end of last year, and unfortunately his worst jumping day was at state," Verhoven said. "Whether he'd like to admit it or not, he was a little overwhelmed."

But Verhoven said Guest should have a better understanding of what to expect this year, and he said Guest should expect the best.

"He's one of the top two or three long jumpers in the state, period," Verhoven said.

Success in Guest's best event comes naturally to him.

"I've just always been great at jumping," he said.

But he said performing well week in and week out isn't as simple as just running and jumping.

"It's hard to be real consistent in the long jump," he said. "I change my (starting) mark up every meet. I see a lot of guys measure it, but my stride is different every week."

He has hit his stride in several events

Guest has hit his stride in several events to help the Admirals.

"He could legitimately make it to the state in four events," Verhoven said.

He has run in the 800- and 1,600-meter relays all spring, and late in the year he was switched from the 400 to the 200 dash, where Verhoven said he is likely to score more points for the team.

"I think he's built to run the 400, but on the other teams in our region and in our class in the state, there's some solid 400s," Verhoven said. "I think he's one of the best five or six in the state in Class A in the 200."

Verhoven said Guest is not only one of the Danville boys' best athletes, but also one of their best assets.

"Jordan's definitely one of my best athletes," Verhoven said. "He's maybe not the strong vocal leader, but he's definitely a leader. He works hard every day at practice, and a lot of days he goes above and beyond what I ask him to do."

Verhoven said Guest and a couple of other upperclassmen, Ben Carter and Roderick Payne, are valuable leaders at the top of the Danville roster.

"He sets a good example not only for himself, but for our younger kids," the Danville coach said.

Verhoven said Guest could be an asset for a college team as well.

"If he commits to it year 'round and gets in the right program, he could do well," Verhoven said.

Guest said he plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University and would like to try for a spot on the track team there. But for now he's focusing on this week's trip to Eastern and trying to help Danville win a regional title when the competition ends Saturday.

"We're not good in a lot of events, but the events we are good in we're real strong in," Guest said. "If the whole team is together and we come together and work hard this week in practice, we should win the region."

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