AUBURN — Me. You. 6-foot-2.

That’s the new mantra for two members of the Edward Little boys’ track team. Connor Harris and Darnell Hairston have already joined the  elite company of high jumpers that have cleared the 6-foot mark. Now the two are looking to soar to new heights.

“I think me and him can get 6-2,” said Harris, a sophomore. “The other day at practice at Bates, he was almost doing 6-2, and I almost cleared it a couple times. I know me and him can do it.”

Harris and Hairston are the only two high jumpers in the state to surpass the 6-foot mark this season.  Only five other EL indoor jumpers have ever reached that milestone.

“All of a sudden we have two of the best high jumpers in the state,” said EL coach Ryan LaRoche. “We knew Connor could be one of the top guys. As of now, they’re the only two to have cleared six feet in the state, and that’s impressive.”

Harris and Hairston are currently tied with four other jumpers for second in school history. Tom Smith set the indoor record of 6-3 in 1993.

“It feels good to get over 6-0,” said Hairston, a junior who missed just about all of last year with a knee injury. “My goal was to only get over 5-8. When I got over 5-6, it showed the improvement my knee has made since last year.”

Harris was expected to reach the 6-0 mark this season.  He had done 5-8 in indoor last year as a freshman and had a fine outdoor season. He learned a lot from working with coaches Dan Campbell and Art Feeley and felt ready to make that leap into the EL elite.

“I was kind or surprised that I’d get it in one of the first meets of the season,” said Harris. “I knew I’d get it eventually.”

For Hairston, he’s been a pleasant surprise.  A lingering knee injury from football cost him both track seasons last year. He didn’t even get into the full swing of this year until after the first month.

“We didn’t even know if we’d have Darnell because he was injured,” said LaRoche. “He missed almost the whole first month of practice. Since he’s been here, he’s worked hard in practice.”

Hairston was able to jump 5-6 last year while briefly trying to come back from his knee injury. After missing most of the season, he had limited expectations this year.

“When I came in and started to do the high jump, my knee was feeling better and better,” said Hairston.

Last weekend, he cleared 5-6 or so he thought. When the bar fell after his jump, it left him, coaches and meet officials befuddled. Then they realized that the mat had shifted and bumped into the stanchion that helped knock the bar off. When he continued, he cleared 5-8 on his first attempt and did 5-10 on his first attempt.

“We were going crazy because he hadn’t even gotten over 5-6 (until that day),” said LaRoche.

Hairston cleared 6-0 but was getting weary. He had the whole team cheering him on as he went for 6-2. He came up short but still joined Harris in elite company in the state and in EL history.

What is especially impressive about their achievement is that the high jumpers have basically been working on their own. The indoor team doesn’t have a coach that specializes in the event. That leaves Hairston and Harris working together.

“Me and Darnell work off each other,” said Harris. “He watches me do a jump and tells me what I did wrong. Then I’ll do the same thing when he jumps. We’ll teach each other.”

The two have only had a handful of jumping sessions at Bates this season. So their jumping practice is limited. By pushing and challenging each other, the two are bringing out the best in the other.

“It makes it much easier,” said Hairston. “It’s not like I’m the only one out there doing it. I think that’s what makes us better. We basically coach ourselves.”

Being the only ones over 6-0 this season puts the pressure on them to perform with the biggest meets ahead. The SMAA jumpers have yet to see their best results and are expected to close in on the heights of Harris and Hairston.

LaRoche says much of high jumping is a mental challenge and being focused is vital. That’s where the partnership between the two jumpers may pay off.

“I feel some pressure,” said Hairston. “If I don’t get it, he’s going to get it. I don’t want that to happen. I want to get it, too. So we push each other as hard as we can until one gets the highest jump.”

Jumping higher seems only a matter of time for both of them. LaRoche says they’re both incredible athletes who are learning how to channel their abilities in the event.

Harris is also ranked second in the state in the triple jump and third in the long jump while also being in the top 10 in two events in the KVAC. Hairston is second in the KVAC in the 55 hurdles and eighth in the state.

“It’s going to take time,” said Harris. “The trouble was at the beginning of the season was we didn’t have the form down. Since we’ve been running off each other and practicing at Bates, we’ve been able to get the form down. I think all we need now is that little extra push.”

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