By CLAUDE SCILLEY
What’s a measly six centimetres, anyway?
The width of a playing card, or the depth of a pound of butter, six centimetres is not a lot in the realm of athletics. At least, that’s what Amanda Black was thinking Thursday afternoon.
She’d finally cracked a personal plateau with a jump of 5.01 metres early in the junior girls long jump competition at the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association track and field championships.
“I hadn’t broken five (metres) yet and I really wanted to do that, because I’ve been very close, fairly consistently,” Black said. “I hit 5.01 on my second jump so I was really excited about that.
“Then they told me the record was 5.07, and that’s only six centimetres, so I thought, ‘Maybe I can get that.’”
It was more easily said than done. Next came two faults, as Black was over the board. Then followed a jump of 4.95 metres. Just one attempt remained and all of sudden six centimetres was starting to look pretty substantial.
“Adrenaline makes you go faster and I kept faulting,” she said, so for her final attempt she moved her start position a step back.
“I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t be on the board, or I might be over. I wasn’t really sure where I was going to end up,” she said, “so I wasn’t really thinking it would be a great jump, but I hit the right spot on the board and I ended up having a good jump, too.
“It all just went together.”
What ensued was a jump of 5.27 metres, one that erased the 11-year-old modern record set by Janelle Taylor of Holy Cross in 2004. The winning jump was not only a 29-centimetre personal best, it was more than a metre past what anyone else in the field was able to achieve.
“It was pretty exciting.”
Black’s record was one of nine set in the two-day annual meet. Under a sunny sky at Caraco Field, two other modern records were tied.
Two records were broken in the morning heats, by Cole Horsman of Frontenac in the midget boys 100 metres (11.1 seconds), and by Merik Wilcock of Sydenham in the junior boys 100-metre hurdles (14.2 seconds). Liam Sands also tied the modern midget boys sprint-hurdle record.
With sprinters running into a stiff wind by mid-day, those times weren’t about to be improved in the respective finals, but Horsman managed to set his second record of the day, 23.1 seconds, in the 200 metres late Thursday afternoon.
He was one of two competitors to set two modern records at the meet. Brogan MacDougall of Regiopolis Notre Dame, who established a new mark in midget girls 1,500 metres Wednesday, added the 800-metre record to her resumé Thursday, 2 minutes 23.7 seconds. Not only was it a record time for the age group, it was the fastest time in the 800 metres by any female competitor at the meet.
Max Taylor of Holy Cross took eight-tenths of a second off the 11-year-old record in midget boys 400 metres, leaving it at 54.0 seconds.
Two disabled athletes from Sydenham improved their own existing records, Dominique Hannah in the 100 metres for intellectually impaired competitors, and Shirley Hughes-Ryan in the 100 metres for ambulatory athletes.
Four athletes each won three individual events:
• Ben Cross of Frontenac added victories in the long and triple jumps to his gold-medal performance Wednesday night in senior boys javelin;
• Claire Millard of Loyalist, winner of junior girls 300-metre hurdles Wednesday, Thursday added victories in the 80-metre hurdles and triple jump;
• Sophia Skorenky of Marie-Rivier swept the senior girls sprints, with victories in the 100, 200 and 400 metres;
• Mavrick Snider of Bayridge won the 100 metres and both the long and triple jumps for junior boys.
Black was one of several competitors who was a two-event winner. She also won high jump and she came third in the sprint hurdles, with a personal-best performance in all three.
In high jump, Black cleared 1.55 metres, the best she’d done in competition since 1.51 metres in Grade 8. She’d done 1.55 metres once in practice. “This kind of solidifies that I can do it,” she said.
Black failed in three attempts with the bar set at 1.58 metres. “The first two jumps were a little rocky but the last one was close,” she said, adding that she’s feeling more comfortable in the event this season.
“I struggled a bit last year,” she said. “I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t really get up there. In the summer my jumping got better and I could solidly hit 1.50, like I had been the year before.
“This year I can focus on moving up and hopefully getting 1.60.”
Athletes and relay teams that finished in the top four of their respective events earned the right to advance to next week’s Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships, Thursday and Friday at Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville. It’s the second of three meets that will ultimately qualify athletes for the provincial high school championships in Toronto, June 4-6.