If the pentathlon were offered at Oklahoma high school track meets, Piedmont girls head track and field coach Jon Bakewell says Kylie Burris would probably sign up.
“She wants to do any event I can get her in,” he said.
“When you’re in two relays and then you’re having to come back and jump after you’ve just run hard – that’s not easy to do,” Bakewell said.
Burris, a sophomore, does it still, though. She made it to state in the high jump as a freshman with a jump of 4’10. She’s not met that mark yet this, but believes she will.
“I’ve been working a lot on my form lately,” Burris, who’s dealt with nagging injuries this season that have slowed her progress, said. “If you have good technique you can get up there.”
Technique is what Burris hangs her hat on. She doesn’t have the prototypical frame of a high-jumper, but makes up for it with fundamentals.
“She’s a technique kid. She eats up my coaching,” Bakewell said. “She does a very good job as a technician. Depending on where she hits the bar she knows exactly what she did wrong.”
Burris started jumping in eighth grade and has grown exponentially since then. Her best jump in middle school was a 4’8. Last season as a freshman, Burris qualified for state with a career-best leap of 4’10. This season she’s aiming for a 5’2. A lofty goal she’s willing to work for.
“It’s a lot of trial and error really. If your steps are off you’re not going to get there,” she said. “With me it’s just the in-air part. I’m not moving fast enough to get over the bar right now.”
How to fix it?
“You just tuck you chin and kick your legs. That’s really about it,” she said.
Burris will likely trim down her event list to three or possibly even just two at regionals so she can focus on qualifying for state in the high jump for the second consecutive season.
“She really works hard and wants to do well,” he said. “It’s amazing. She’s loyal and wants to go above and beyond what she’s capable of, and that’s all I can ask for.”