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St. John's Pitt clears personal best in high jump

It was a day of accomplishments for jump specialist Troy Pitt.

The St. John the Baptist senior, in just his second year on the Cougars' track team, cleared 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump and finished fourth Saturday at the New Balance Games at the Armory.

It was a personal-best height for Pitt, who said he used to get tense anytime he saw the 6-foot marker. His best meet jump had been 5-8.

Pitt said making the jump accomplished two goals. The first was getting over any mental issues he had with clearing 6-feet. Second: Pitt said he now knows he is capable of accomplishing "so much more."

His next goal is clearing 6-4.

"6-2 is big. Even in practice 6-foot has been a mental thing for me," Pitt said. "I'd get over 5-10 easily, but would get scared once I saw 6-feet."

Getting to the level he's at now was anything but easy. Last year at the CHSAA League championship, Pitt cleared just 5 feet.

Embarrassed by his showing, Pitt spent the summer using the Air Alert program to improve his conditioning. Air Alert is a training program that concentrates on improving an athlete's vertical jump.

Pitt, who got through eight weeks of the 15-week program, said he felt the difference in his jumping almost immediately.

"I really felt the pressure at the league championships," Pitt said. "I knew I had to get better for myself and for the team."

The Air Alert program is just part of the story for Pitt. He is also a dancer and participates in ballet at the June Claire Dance Center in Holbrook. The footwork and conditioning it took to be a dancer made for a natural transition to track.

"[Dancing] teaches you how to jump. It teaches you how to use your legs and feel your body," Pitt said. "Air Alert maximized my power. It gives you a lot more stamina."

As for his decision to join the track team, Pitt said he enjoys the camaraderie with his teammates and coaches.

"I wanted to be part of a team," Pitt said. "Dance outside of school is fun, but I really wanted that team atmosphere. Just to cheer each other on is great. Joining track allowed me to do that."

Pitt's day ended abruptly after he tweaked his right hip during the triple jump relay. He said it's nothing to be worried about.

"We have the [PSAL] Midwinter Classic next week," he said. "But I really want to get back to the league championship."

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