Standing in the dry air in the Suffolk County Community College arena, Darius Brew began his approach. This wasn’t just any high jump for the Mattituck High School senior, so some adjustment was required. He moved his takeoff point from near one of the standards holding the horizontal bar, opting for a position toward the center. He figured he would have a better chance of clearing the height that way, but even then, he later admitted, he didn’t expect to clear it.
That is when Brew surprised himself, and amazed others.
Brew launched himself up toward the bar, which hung 6 feet 6 inches above the floor. He arced his 5-9 3/4 frame and fell to the mat. The loud roar of cheers he heard told him all he needed to know. Still, seeing is believing. Brew looked up. “I was so surprised that the bar was still up,” he said.
Brew’s 6-6 easily brought him first place in the Section XI Small School Championships on Sunday. The second-place jumper, Amityville junior Emmanuel Oguntoye, had made 6-1. Another Mattituck high jumper, senior Jack Dufton, was fifth at 5-10.
But the star of the day was Brew.
“He was elated,” Mattituck coach Karl Himmelmann said. “That’s the best word I could use to describe it. Darius isn’t one to show much emotion. He’s a usually calm guy. He had a huge smile on his face.”
Certainly, it was a lot to smile about. Brew had turned in three personal-best jumps on the day.
The one at 6-6 was the highest high jump by a Mattituck boy since 1993 when Jay Rose cleared 6-5, according to Himmelmann.
Brew’s record-setting jump at 6-6 came on his first attempt at that height. Earlier, he had cleared 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5 on his first attempts.
Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when Brew entered the competition by scissor-kicking his way over the bar at 5-6. Himmelmann said an official came up to him and told him he had never seen anyone do that before.
“I didn’t know how long it was going to last,” said Brew.
From there, Brew used the traditional style, and it worked for him.
“It was magical,” Himmelmann said. The coach continued: “His technique was outstanding. It was like a textbook on how to do the high jump.”
Himmelmann said Brew “was close at 6-7, but I think at that point you could see he was getting tired.”
Brew has taken first place in every indoor meet he has competed in this season in Suffolk. With his 6-6, he is tied with three others for the No. 2 spot in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association rankings, according to Athletic.net. Smithtown East’s Daniel Claxton, who topped 6-9 1/4 at Monday’s large school championship meet, is ranked first.
Himmelmann has known Brew since Brew was a freshman. “As a freshman, he had a great foundation, even back then,” Himmelmann said. “It’s that foundation coming to fruition. He’s been working hard this season and it’s really paying off. … He has definite natural gifts and natural talent combined with just hard work.”
How much higher can Brew go?
“I think he has a shot to go higher,” said Himmelmann.
His next meet will be Monday in the Section XI Championships, a state qualifying event, at Suffolk County Community College.
In other events for the Tuckers, Dufton came in seventh in the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes 43.65 seconds.
Dufton and Brew also joined Joseph Graeb and Jason Scalia on a 4×200-meter relay team that finished 12th in 1:42.87.
Graeb was 19th in the long jump, covering 17-10 1/4.
Joe Werkmeister contributed to this article.
Photo caption: Mattituck senior Darius Brew took first place in the high jump in the Section XI Small School Championships on Sunday, clearing 6 feet 6 inches. (Credit: Courtesy photo)