Talk about a burgeoning rivalry.
Ethan Campbell of Halls and Shawn Stacy of Central, two elite high jumpers with their sights set on the magical 7-foot mark, met for just the second time in a track and field meet Thursday at Bearden.
Neither athlete was at his best, but they still managed a 1-2 finish.
Stacy cleared 6 feet 4 inches to take first with Campbell in second at 6-2.
Both seniors were well off their career bests.
Stacy has gone 6-9 while Campbell is currently tied with Raishun Morris of Hillcrest for the top mark in the state outdoors this year at 6-8.
The state record of 7-2 was set by White Station’s Eric Draper in 1996.
Campbell said it was just one of those days Thursday when not much went right from the get go.
He passed until 6-feet and uncharacteristically missed his first jump there.
“They (my steps) were inconsistent every time and I didn’t have much pop,” said Campbell.
Stacy said he’ll take a win over Campbell any day, no matter the height.
“It’s just great competing against him,” said Stacy, who cleared 6-2 on his first jump and missed three times at 6-6.
The two went head to head for the first time a couple of weeks ago in a meet at Gibbs.
Campbell went 6-6 to finish first with Stacy second at 6-4.
Campbell and Stacy find themselves at similar crossroads, but each took remarkably different paths.
Stacy burst onto the scene as a freshman at Bearden, finishing second in the state Class AAA high jump.
He repeated the accomplishment his sophomore season and later transferred to Central following his junior year at Bearden.
Campbell didn’t even begin high jumping until about a year ago.
“I had never really tried it, but my coach got me to come out because I’m tall and lanky,” said the 6-foot-4 Campbell.
“I did 5-6 my first day out, which was what our best high jumper was doing. I loved it. I wish I had started (high jumping) at least my freshman year.”
Campbell’s meteoric rise in the event began when he finished fourth a year ago in the high jump at the Large School state meet.
He then turned more heads when he cleared a personal-best 6-8.75 to easily win the high jump at the Tennessee State Indoor Championships in February at Vanderbilt. The mark earned him a No. 11 ranking nationally in the event.
Campbell and Stacy will go head to head several more times leading up to the state meet in May in Murfreesboro.
Both agree it will do nothing but make each other better.
“There’s a lot of great competitors at state, but he (Campbell) is definitely on the radar,” said Stacy.
“I’d like to go against him every meet.”