Sims aims for All-American form

Tigers hitting stride as Big 12 Indoor Championships approach
Friday, February 20, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:54 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

Things are starting to look familiar for Jesse Sims.

Sims, a junior, is looking to return to his All-American form in the high jump at the Missouri All-Comers Meet, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

Last year, Sims earned All-American honors in the indoor high jump with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. His jump of 6 feet, 11½ inches at last week’s Iowa State Classic came within one-quarter of an inch of last year’s All-American mark.

Healthy and happy

In the past, Sims had always started the season well, only to suffer an injury in the middle of the season. Jumps coach Matt Candrl decided this year he should bring Sims around slowly to keep it from happening again.

“We’re starting to open the old Jesse back up,” Candrl said. “He’s had a lot of injuries at the end of the season in years past, so I tried to hold him back a little bit so we could get through the season.”

Sims attributes his success to his coaches and looks forward to returning to All-American form.

“Coach Candrl and Coach (Rick) McGuire just create the optimal environment for excellence and training here,” Sims said. “Now I just have to get back. There’s always a higher bar.”

Woolsey faces former teammates

MU junior Conrad Woolsey will also experience something familiar Saturday. Woolsey, on the other hand, is not looking to return to anything. His former team is returning to him. He competed for two years at Northwest Missouri State University before transferring this year. While he was at NMSU, he earned Division II All-American honors four times and won the national title in the indoor shot put in 2002.

Woolsey welcomes the chance to compete against some of his old teammates and coaches.

“It’s just going to be a lot of fun,” Woolsey said. “I’ve known a lot of these guys for a long time, so it’s going to be kind of like a reunion.”

Winning does not concern Woolsey heading into Saturday’s meet. He is putting all his focus on qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships. He has a provisional qualifying throw, but he wants to improve his mark to make sure he keeps his spot in the field.

“I’m looking to throw over 61 feet,” Woolsey said. “I’ve already qualified, but they only invite the top 16 people. I’m really just competing against myself now to make sure I get a spot.”

Big 12 meet looming

This is Missouri’s last meet before the Big 12 Conference Indoor Championships next week in Lincoln, Neb.

Many of the Missouri distance runners will take Saturday’s meet off.

“We’ve run every week this season, and most of the long distance runners like to take this week off so they can rest for the Big 12 Championships,” miler Ryan Hampton said.

The Missouri All-Comers meet will give everyone a chance to compete. There will be four age divisions: prehigh school, high school, college/open and masters (40 and older).

Registration is done on site Saturday morning. The entry fee is $10 and participants are allowed unlimited entries.

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