For Potomac senior Sydney Carr, the preliminary rounds of the Class 6 triple jump had already provided at least two surprises. Although she was seeded third, her performance standard (36-7) and personal best (36-9.75) were far behind top-seeded Emma Seetoo of Westfield, a previous state champion who posted a new best of 39-10.25 four weekends ago at the East Coast Invitational.
Yet after three jumps, there was Carr, topping the list of finalists after popping a new best of 38-5.25 on her third jump. However, with three rounds to go in the finals, the senior's optimism for a gold medal was guarded.
Entering the Virginia Beach Sports Center on Monday morning, she had thought that winning was a possibility. "I figured that I was as ready as I'll ever be," said the Panther, keeping in mind that some of her best jumps had occurred recently on the practice runway at her home school in Dumfries.
Adding 20 inches to her best performance in the prelim jumps didn't hurt either. "I was able to keep my body up," said Carr, stressing the importance of proper form, especially considering that she has yet to break 17 feet in the long jump.
"I was feeling good," added Carr, "and the competition in the finals was great. They helped me so much." Seetoo reached an identical 38-5.25, and then on the final jump, she lost the lead as junior Madison McConico of Thomas Dale soared to a hop, skip, and jump of 38-11.
Down to her final effort, Carr stared down the runway and with her first step, reached into the zone. "I felt good the whole way," A strong run was followed by a formidable jump, remarkable second phase ("I held up longer than ever"), workmanlike third jump and perfect landing to complete a winning jump of 39-4.5, almost two-and-a-half better than she had started the day.
For Carr, it was "easily" her biggest win, but sets the tone for outdoor season showdowns with herself, McConico, and Seetoo. There is still room for immediate improvement, starting with working on her explosiveness in the long jump, in the hopes of topping 17, and then 18 feet. A tweak in her back prevented it from happening on Monday, but after a four-week break before outdoor training, which has added a twist to the COVID routine, Carr will be ready to roll. "The long jump helps me keep my power up, but even my coach mentioned that I'm triple jumping over 39 feet, but only 16-10 in the long.
Asked how long she might be able to stretch her mark with another foot or two on the long jump, Carr left no doubt that she has a goal. "I'd like to push it to forty-eight (40-8), she said, before supplementing her position with, "well, forty feet."
Seetoo did come back to win the long jump, with a leap of 18-6.25.
Battlefield's Brittany Fort won the shotput in 36-2.25.
Colonial Forge's Nayome Shipp won the high jump in 5-4, defeating Thomas dale's Brianna Jackson with fewer misses. However, it was Jackson's Dale team that won the title with 65.5 points. Robinson (44.5) and Battlefield (34) placed second and third.