Josh Rioux is deep in thought at the Division 1 boys track and field state meet last season.
Josh Rioux is deep in thought at the Division 1 boys track and field state meet last season.

North Farmington High School senior Josh Rioux has a New Year’s resolution for 2023: All-State in high jump.

The new year is just a few weeks away.

It will be an important year for North Farmington High School senior Josh Rioux. He hopes 2023 will be a year of achieving his goals in track and field and wiping away disappointments.

Rioux is a high jumper.

He’s a good enough high jumper to have competed in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 state meet in June and AAU Junior Olympic Games in August and improve his personal-record jump by seven inches in one year.

He tied his new PR of 6 feet, 3 inches at the state meet at Rockford and finished in ninth place, but that was one spot away from earning All-State honors.

“It was very disappointing to miss out on being All-State,” Rioux said. “Do I want to make All-State this coming season? Absolutely. That’s my No. 1 goal.

“How well I do at the state meet will determine if I want to continue high jumping in college. That would be a big commitment.”

Rioux went to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the Junior Olympics.

“I didn’t do very well there,” he said.

He cleared 5-11 and finished 39th of about 80 competitors in the boys 17-18 age group.

“I wasn’t nervous at nationals,” he said. “I was more nervous at the state meet because I’d never high jumped in front of that many people.

“What I learned from nationals is I need to focus on myself at a big meet like that. You can’t compare yourself to everyone else.”

Just getting to the state meet and Junior Olympics required some work for Rioux.

He first achieved his new PR of 6-3 at an MHSAA regional meet at Farmington and tied for first place. The top two finishers in high jump at the regional advanced to state.

That was quite a different story from the previous year, Rioux’s sophomore season, when he failed to clear any height at a regional. There was no high school track and field season when he was a freshman because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rioux finished third at a Junior Olympics qualifier at Detroit Renaissance with a jump of 6-0. The top six jumpers there earned spots at the Junior Olympics. It was Rioux’s first Junior Olympics qualifier.

Rioux had another feather in his cap during this past high school season. He finished first in high jump at the Oakland Activities Association Blue/Gold meet at West Bloomfield, clearing 5-10.

At 6 feet tall, Rioux is shorter than most of his high jumping opponents.

“I’m shorter than probably 90% of them,” he said.

The 17-year-old makes up for that deficiency with a dogged determination to do well, listening to his coaches and a love for high jumping.

“It’s all you,” he said about high jumping. “You determine your own success. I live for that pressure.”

As for listening to his coaches, “I’m always open to new ideas,” he said. “When I was at regionals and state last season, I called over all the (North Farmington) coaches to see me jump so I could get their feedback.”

Christine Buen isn’t surprised by Rioux’s high-jumping success. The two first crossed paths when Rioux was a seventh-grader at Warner Middle School, where Buen coaches high jumpers.

A high-jump tryout in the Warner gym gave Buen her first glimpse of Rioux’s high-jumping potential.

Buen has followed Rioux’s progress since he left Warner, attending some of his meets and sending him video clips and texts with coaching suggestions.

“Josh gets it when it comes to high jumping,” Buen said. “He’s insightful. He listens and learns. He sees what needs to be changed and changes it. He’s willing to listen to any adult who wants to help him.”

Rioux returned Buen’s compliment.

“I wouldn’t have achieved any of the things I’ve achieved in high jump without her,” he said.

Rioux is a triplet along with his brother Noah and sister Samantha, who were born before and after him. They were born Jan. 5, 2005.

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