Teresa Myrthil has a flair for the dramatic. It must come from the artist inside of her.
Twice, at this weekend's girls Class 6 championships, Myrthil, who won both the long and triple jumps, waited until her sixth and final jump to deliver the winning effort.
On Friday night, the Robinson senior was seeded first in the triple, but fell behind to both leader Rebecca Stewart of Washington-Liberty and Raquel Pauly of Hayfield. Both had passed the 38-foot threshold, but barely.
Working in Myrthil's favor was her status as the returning state indoor champion, as well as her personal-best of 40 feet, 3.25 inches, from that day. There was also a calming effect from a talk she had with Ram coach Jim Barrineau.
"He told me that he wasn't as concerned with the triple jump," said Myrthil, who proceeded to crank a 40-1 jump to zoom past Stewart and Pauly and earn her second consecutive win. "His concern was more with the long jump."
With one win under her belt, and heading to the long jump pit on Saturday morning, Myrthil "wasn't as nervous, because I felt better after winning the triple jump. The long jump would be a bonus."
Yet, through three rounds of preliminaries and two jumps in the final, she found herself trailing Ltamra Weeks of Western Branch and Colgan's Lauren Yeboah-Kodie, as well as four other jumpers. But again, drawing from the entertainer inside, Myrthil reached for the next gear on Jump 6 and found it. Her 18-6 effort, a new PR, earned a dramatic second victory for the weekend, and vaulted the Robinson team into an early tie for the team lead with perennial champion Western Branch.
With three state titles to her credit, it could be assumed that Myrthil is currently plotting and planning for a collegiate athletic career. In fact, her list of college choices includes two track powerhouses in Virginia Tech and South Carolina, as well as Carnegie Mellon, not a track powerhouse.
A look at the best CMU women's performances among the Tartans women this season shows a top long jump of just over 16-7, while the leading triple jump is roughly 33-7.5. Not bad for the Division III competition that the Pittsburgh based school faces within the University Athletic Association, but nowhere near Myrthil's standards.
So, what is the draw to Mellon? And it's here that Myrthil removes her mask. She is an aspiring chemical engineer, but also a talented trumpeteer. The mention of continuing track in college draws an answer of "I hope so," but mention music, and she readily tells a reporter that she would like to continue playing her trumpet in college.
Even more amazing? She could have the chance to do both if she is accepted to C-M, which boasts a reputation as one of the most prominent research universities in America.
Myrthil is a sterling example of how influential Carnegie Mellon is. While dozens of Division I track schools would love to welcome her to their ranks, the Tartans have yet to extend an acceptance letter, much less an athletic offer of any kind.
And that is just fine with the Lady Ram.
"My focus has always been on academics," she adds. "I'm also looking to continue music in college."
An interesting combination, but one that becomes more intriguing with her next sentence.
"They have a program where I can get a degree for both."
Engineering and... music?
Yes. Carnegie Mellon is home to the BXA programs, which allow students to earn a bachelor's degree in a discipline, while adding arts courses to the curriculum (B x A (Arts)). The BXA umbrella encompasses four programs including one, the EA program which intertwines Engineering and Arts. As noted in the school's literature, the program "allows current Engineering majors the ability to incorporate an arts concentration to expand their field of study, while completing BXA's interdisciplinary core courses. Students graduate with engineering licensure and are also prepared to work in collaborative environments or become entrepreneurial inventors."
The capstone project must be interesting?
"I'd like to get into something that involves music and production," said Myrthil. "Part of what engineers do is improve the quality of instruments."
And if all goes to plan, Teresa Myrthil will leave college with a degree in engineering, the ability to build a trumpet, and then play it like Miles Davis, or even better, Valaida Snow.