Sometimes the long jump really is just about running and jumping.
Just a few weeks removed from taking up the event for the first time, Northwest Christian’s Breanne Taylor overcame that inexperience to win a State 2B long jump championship Friday.
Taylor was one of three area girls to earn individual titles during the first day of the State Track and Field Championships at Eastern Washington University. The meet consists of athletes from the 1A, 2B and 1B classifications.
Anandae Clark Egland of Lakeside captured her second consecutive 1A pole vault championship. Cusick’s Andrea Heinen placed first in the discus in the 1B meet and today will defend her shot put championship from last year.
Though only sophomores, Clark Egland and Heinen aren’t strangers to the pressure of a state meet and were favored in their respective events. Taylor, however, was appearing in her first 2B state meet and had been hobbled by a lingering ankle injury that limited her practice time.
After struggling in her earlier efforts, Taylor unleashed a winning jump of 16 feet, 93/4 inches on her final attempt – a mere half-inch longer than that of second-place finisher Alissa Brooks-John of Pe Ell and an improvement of nearly 4 inches over her previous best.
The first-place finish was a remarkable way to cap her high school career, especially considering she tried the long jump just for fun and hasn’t mastered the mechanics of the event.
“A couple meets ago was my first time,” Taylor said, “A friend (Krystal Maple) and I wanted to try new things. I said, ‘Let’s do the long jump, and we can be awful together.’ Then I finished first that week.”
Also in 2B, Morgan Willson of Colfax placed second in the 3,200-meter run, and Lind-Ritzville’s Heather Whitmore finished second in the javelin.
Willson, a sophomore, kept pace with but ultimately couldn’t run down winner Mikel Elliott of White Pass. Elliott finished with a time of 11:12.41, just ahead of Willson’s 11:12.91.
Whitmore led her rivals going into the final round of javelin throws, but Willapa Valley’s Nicole Miller uncorked a throw of 123-8 to secure first place. Whitmore was second with a throw of 121-1.
1A: Clark Egland was disappointed her winning height in the pole vault, 10-6, fell short of the 1A meet record of 11-3 set by former Lakeside standout Loreah Winlow in 2007. Her mood brightened, though, when she was reminded she’s now halfway toward finishing her prep career with four state titles.
“I’ve wanted to take it one year at a time,” she said. “My goal is just to make it to state. And when I get there, I figure out how I’m going to do there.”
Her final mark was 3 inches shy of last year’s winning height. Sarah Blatchford of King’s was second at 9-9.
Sophie Bush of Newport placed second in the 3,200 with a time of 11:43.33. Seeded fourth entering the meet, Bush knocked 4 seconds off her previous best time.
Freeman’s Morgan Romey finished second in the shot put with a throw of 38-8, just 1 inch shy of first-placer Amanda Youngers of Brewster.
1B: Heinen cruised to the discus title with a throw of 118-9, nearly 9 feet ahead of second-place Charice McConville of Klickitat (109-10) and a personal high. Heinen has won state championships in two events, adding to her shot put title a year ago.
“I don’t throw it right,” Heinen said of the 1-kilogram discus, “but it seems to work.”