Surpassing her longest jump by a whopping six feet, freshman Heidi Johnson placed first in the triple jump on May 19 at Stanislaus State in Turlock.
Johnson won the event with a personal record jump of 35 feet, 11 ¼ inches.
She had tried the triple jump only twice before.
“The funny thing is that since it’s almost two hours away and I wasn’t placed very well, I almost didn’t come!” she said.
According to Johnson, her short qualifying jump of 29’-1” in the championships placed her only 23rd of 25 competitors in this meet.
So when she arrived, she didn’t have high expectations.
“I was hoping I would (land a personal record), and maybe if I was lucky make finals, (which is) top eight,” she said.
However, Johnson exceeded her expectations by getting 35’ on her first jump.
“When the official called out my first length, I thought he said 30’, and I was really happy,” she said. “Then everyone was looking at me going ‘No, 35!’’ and I couldn’t believe it.
“Several girls came up to me afterwards (and were) asking why I was in the first flight.”
(First flight is the group with shorter-distance jumpers, as determined by previous jumps. Second flight is the group with longer-distance jumpers.)
Johnson said that her impressive jump was due to many reasons.
“It was cooler today, I was more energized, and everything seemed to click,” she said.
“With triple jump, it’s kind of weird going right foot, left foot, so I think the first few times I was just trying to figure it out, but this time it all came together.”
According to coach Nick Domich, it’s not fair to the other kids that Johnson is so talented.
“She’s something else,” he said.
“Technically this (is) only the second time she’s competed in this event, because the girl at league championships was no match for her and Heidi only did one jump.
“I don’t know how many times someone has won a section(al) championship with such little experience in the event.”
Johnson will next compete in masters at the Section Championship on Thursday and Friday, May 26-27, at Elk Grove High School.
—By Mohini Rye