BELPRE - Another Hoffman is going to the Ohio state high school track meet for Belpre.
First, it was Cydney and Hannah Hoffman competing in Columbus, now it'll be their younger brother Dakota Hoffman at 1:30 p.m. today in the Division III long jump at Jesse Owens Stadium at Ohio State University.
Hoffman, fully recovered from a dislocated elbow suffered in the season's first meet, long jumped 20 feet, 11 inches to win the event in the district, then went 20-4 in last weekend's regional to place third and qualify for the state.
''I'm real excited about going to state,'' said the Golden Eagle junior, a multi-sport (soccer, basketball, track) athlete at Belpre. At the regional, ''I pulled out a 20-foot-4 jump on my second-to-last try after my coaches (Chris Palmer, Ryan Yates) told me a 20-footer should get me to state.''
To do well in Columbus today, Hoffman knows ''you just have to have the right attitude, because there's going to be some freak athletes up there and I can't get discouraged when I first look at them and see that they're jumping just as far as me - and further.
''So I just have to keep my head, and bust out a good jump.''
His sisters ''give me advice and say the state meet's quite an experience, but it makes me nervous,'' said Hoffman. ''They both went (to state) a few years, but this is my first year going, so hopefully I can go back next year, then I could say, 'Hey, yea, I went there two times too.' ''
At the season-opening Warren Fairweather Relays, both Palmer, the Belpre head boys track coach, and Hoffman first thought he had broken his arm ''when I jumped and fell,'' said Hoffman. ''It hurt so bad, but was just dislocated, so I lucked out that's for sure. I figured there was no way I'd be back this season, that I'd have a cast on it. But I missed only three weeks, maybe three or four meets. It set me back a little bit, but I got back in rhythm pretty fast.''
According to former Belpre track standout as well as long jumper Yates, Hoffman ''has come along real well this year. He's matured a lot. He came in with as much confidence as he has now, but that elbow injury set him back. He's stepped up though since he's been back and performed really well.''
Yates, who long jumped 20-11 1/2 at state as a senior, sees Hoffman reaching upwards of 22 feet by next season. ''He's almost got 21-0 this season, and I think he can take that out to 21-6 and progress on past that,'' said Yates. ''He's got that ability.''
''We knew Dakota had a pretty good shot at going to the state, maybe more so in the 300 (intermediate) hurdles, but also in 110 (high) hurdles and long jump,'' said Palmer. ''So that he did it in the long jump is no surprise. He's just an athlete.
''This year too, we threw him in the 4 by 400 (relay) and they had some really strong times. But Dakota's one of those kids you could throw in about anywhere. At the TVC (championship) meet, we put him in the high jump and he finished second and won boys high-point honors.''