Freshman Heidi Johnson qualified for and competed in the Stanford Invitational at Stanford University on April 1-2.
The Stanford Invitational is a meet that takes the top 30 qualifying competitors on the west coast who have reached the required time, height or length for their event during earlier competitions. Colleges and high schools alike compete at the meet.
Johnson said the meet was larger, more professional and more select than previous meets she has attended.
“Everything was run on a tight schedule, and they were much more strict about who has access to where,” she said.
According to Johnson, the timing for the running events was all electronic and appeared almost instantaneously on the Jumbotron. The sand pits for the long jump and triple jump were nicer than most and very level, and the measurements were much more precise.
Johnson competed in the high jump, which had a required height of 5 feet, 1 inches.
“I got to see a lot of really talented athletes in all events and observe different styles, techniques and abilities,” she said.
While the experience was spectacular, Johnson said the meet didn’t go as well.
This year, the officials changed the opening height to 5’ instead of the usual 4’-8”, which deterred Johnson.
“I usually start jumping at least four to six inches below my peak height (of 5’-2”), as do many other people,” she said.
“Also, due to my injury, I haven’t been jumping off my left foot for a while, so this was my first time back.”
Because of the increased starting height, 10 of the qualifying 21 girls were unable to make the first jump – including Johnson.
“Everyone is capable of jumping (the qualifying height of 5’-1”), but no one, or nearly no one except people who can jump higher, starts so high, since you have to get warmed into it and get your legs ready for jumping,” Johnson said.
“With each of my three attempts I got closer, and I thought I may have done it the third try, but unfortunately I didn’t.”
Although she didn’t place, Johnson wasn’t too disheartened.
“I learned so much about the meet and really look forward to hopefully coming back,” she said.
“Overall it was an excellent experience, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.”
The next meet is the Thunder Invitational on Saturday, April 9, at Rocklin High School.
—By Mohini Rye