LAKEWOOD - Colt Sessions had a confession to make. The sound of a pop coming from his left ankle after a failed running front flip two months ago sent tremors through the defending 4A state high jumping champion.
"I was goofing off," Sessions said. "I had done it before, and I debated whether I should lie about it. I was being foolish, so why not tell the truth? But my coach wasn't too thrilled when I told him."
Sessions recovered nicely and gave his coach, D.J. Russell, and plenty of onlookers at Jeffco Stadium on Friday a high jumping thrill for the ages, breaking a 22-year-old state meet record by clearing 6 feet, 11 inches en route to his second straight title.
Sessions, a junior, broke the previous record of 6-10, set by Liberty's Tracy Heiman in 1991. Once Nicholas Meihaus of Pueblo South missed on his third attempt at 6-8, the Cheyenne Mountain star had the entire event to himself.
Having earlier cleared 6-9, he then had the bar moved to 6-11 to give him three shots at the state-meet mark. Sessions wasted no time, his first jump eliciting a roar from the north end of the stadium as fans lined the fence to get a look at history in the making.
"Just the atmosphere here raises your game," Sessions said. "Everyone here is pumped up, and there are tons of people watching and clapping. To hear it, this is so cool. I'm just honored to be here and thrilled to compete. They made me jump higher."
Sessions started his day in the long jump pit, finishing seventh after his six attempts, the best 22-2. After a couple of hours off, he prepared himself to defend his title after recording the regular season's top jump of 6-9.
He almost never got there, toppling the bar on his first attempt at 6-5 and recalling several past events where an early miss sent him in a downward spiral.
"I almost lost it," Sessions said. "I do not have a very good record when I miss on my first try. I usually go out. I had to make sure not to let it get in my head. High jumping is so mental. It happened, and I had to shove it away."
That's exactly what Sessions did, then left the bar standing on consecutive jumps at 6-7, 6-9, then 6-11 for the school and state-meet mark. He had three shots at 7 feet but couldn't keep the momentum going.
Then again, this is the same guy who had to sit for seven weeks to wonder if his ankle would heal in time to defend his crown.
"That was a tough call to receive," Russell said. "But for him to overcome that is something. If you're not jumping healthy, you're not jumping well. He's a really good kid, and he has big dreams and aspirations. Next year is going to have a lot in store for him."
Just no more running front flip 180s from now on.
"I wish I wouldn't have done it, but it was a learning thing," Sessions said. "I'm glad I did it when I did. I would have hated to have done something like that in college. It definitely wasn't smart."