Holy Cross' Munger raising bar higher

Jaquee Munger, not one to show excitement, has the state's best jump so far this season. AKIRA SUWA / Staff
Jaquee Munger, not one to show excitement, has the state's best jump so far this season. AKIRA SUWA / Staff
Posted: April 13, 2013

Holy Cross' Jaquee Munger sat patiently with his teammates throughout most of the high-jump competition Wednesday.

Munger watched, cross-legged and emotionless, as teammates and opponents struggled to clear 5 feet, 6 inches, then 5 feet, 8 inches, and so on.

The senior did not even start to loosen up until Bordentown's top jumper got to 5-10, where he maxed out. Munger's warm-up consisted mostly of some practice steps and light jogging.

His peers finished for the day and focused on Munger, slight in stature, as he stepped up to jump. He started at 6 feet and cleared easily to win the meet.

His teammates expected the jump and gave a subdued reaction, but Munger's stunned competitors who do not regularly see him enthusiastically shouted their disbelief of an athlete who can jump over the average man by a half-foot.

After clinching a victory for Holy Cross, Munger went for personal bests. After his 6-foot jump, he conferred with officials and skipped straight to 6-4. His red and white jersey and black Nikes soared over the bar on one attempt to match his season best and the top jump in New Jersey so far this season.

Munger never gave a reaction.

He then failed to match his personal best of 6-6, set indoors in December, ending his day and the meet.

Munger did not celebrate or show excitement as he left the field with his teammates. If anything, he might have been disappointed over the best high jump in New Jersey to this point of the season.

The previous weekend was different.

Following his first jump after a right hip pointer he suffered in the winter, Munger could not help but give a little smile and fist pump when he cleared 6-4 on April 6 at the Hall of Fame Relays at Maple Shade.

"I was hoping I wouldn't drop off," said Munger, a Shippensburg University recruit. "At least I knew I was still here; I didn't drop down any lower. I could always bring it up."

"I know inside it made him feel good and pointed to great things to come," Holy Cross coach Jim O'Donnell said. "That's pretty much walking out and taking a few jumps. He has that kind of potential."

With a sly grin, O'Donnell did not want to go into Munger's big plans for the season, but Munger blew his cover: He wants to set a personal record of 6-8 over the next few weeks. That is part of the reason his debut came with such relief and his most recent effort came with less excitement.

"It reaffirmed everything," Munger said of his first jump of the year. "I can still do this."

Munger set his current best at the Armory Youth Holiday Classic indoors on Dec. 22, but soon after injured his hip while training.

"Now I'm reassured that I'm fine and 100 percent," he said. "I feel like I can do anything."

Maybe even get to 6-8 and show excitement.

Contact Nick Carroll at ncarroll@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.

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