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Peat finds a jumping off point

Auburn athlete takes 8th in long jump, plots return to World Masters
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Bernhard Peat didn’t bring any medals home from the World Masters Athletics Championships last weekend in Sacramento. The Auburn resident did return with a new appreciation for the skills it takes to compete in the long jump and great memories from his first track and field competition in 35 years. Peat, who still holds the school record in the long jump at Placer High (22 feet, 5.5 inches), had a tough day on Sunday at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium on Sunday. After qualifying for the final round, Peat fouled on three of his six attempts in the finals. He cleared 16-3.75 to place eighth. Finland’s Jouko Nicula leaped 18-6.5 to win the men’s 55-and-over competition. “There were guys from Finland, Switzerland, Germany and England and they were fit and they knew how to jump,” Peat said. “They had really good fundamentals and that’s what beat me. But it was a really great experience.” Peat said many of the European competitors have remained active in the sport since their high school years. Meanwhile Peat was busy playing football at Cal before embarking on a professional basketball career in Germany that spanned close to 20 years. He now owns a landscaping business in Auburn. “All the guys in Europe run track year round and they were just better technically,” Peat said. “I anticipated getting 18-0, but obviously I had a hard day hitting the board. I took nine jumps in the competition and six were scratches. I think it was the timing that I lacked.” Peat signed up for the World Masters as a tribute to his late mother, who passed away at the age of 55. Peat, who coaches the Placer girls junior varsity basketball team, is 55. Earlier in the 11-day competition, Peat competed in the 200-meter dash, placing 27th with a time of 28.67 seconds. Peat is already looking forward to the next World Masters event, which will be held in Brazil in 2013. He said he may try his hand at the decathlon, where he could better use his speed, strength and overall athleticism. “I like the challenge,” he said. “I’ll definitely be better next time.” The meet will always be a source of inspiration for Peat and the others involved. There were several athletes in their 80s, 90s and beyond who suited up in Sacramento. “It was fun seeing people older than me running at a high level,” Peat said. “They could be in a convalescent home, but they’re out there running. It was awesome.”