BY JEFF FALK
SHIPPENSBURG – Foot speed produces the forward inertia. The height results from pure jumping ability.
The length? Well, if you’ve got speed and height, the distance sort of takes care of itself.
On a steamy Friday afternoon, during the opening day of the annual PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, Reagan Hess combined flawless technique and undeniable talent to reach a personal best in the Class AA long jump competition. The Annville-Cleona junior leaped 19-1, an inch better than her previous best, to grab the state silver medal in the event, a shade more than two inches shorter than Athens Area sophomore Breanna Gambrell’s victorious effort of 19-3.25.
Hess was the lone Lebanon County competitor to earn a medal during the first day of the state track and field. The prestigious event continues Saturday morning, back at Shippensburg University, where the locale is expected to leave a bigger impression on the proceedings.
“The competition drives me,” said Hess. “I love the competition. I love pushing myself. She (Gambrell) got me going a little bit. She’s a sophomore and she’s a really good jumper. Today I needed to up my game a little bit.
“I love the long jump because I get six chances,” Hess continued. “I also like that you can see what your competition is doing. I think there’s a little bit of pressure. It’s my returning year and I’m coming off three District gold medals, so I think there are some expectations. It’s just from myself, because I know I can do so well.”
Hess entered the fray seeded second, by two inches, to Gambrell’s 18-8.25.
But she battled a lingering hamstring issue as much as she did her foe from District Four. While Hess did not appear to be favoring her leg during the competition, she did push it only when she needed to.
She could be seen continuously stretching her hamstring, between jumps, despite the warm conditions.
“My right leg is really good,” said Hess of the injury that held her out of last season’s District Three and PIAA Track and Field Championships. “But my left leg has been killing me. I think it is over compensating, and it’s been through a lot. It just shoots up with pain sometimes.
“I’m kind of beating myself up a little bit,” continued Hess. “But she’s (Gambrell) a great jumper. I’m getting better and better. I’m really happy with my P.R. (personal record).”
Hess also captured a state silver medal in the Class AA long jump during her freshman campaign of 2014. During that PIAA meet, Hess was third in the Class AA 100-meter dash.
“I just got on the runway and told myself I’ve got to go for it on this last jump,” said Hess. ” ‘You’ve already got second.’ It is so hot out here. I just kept thinking, ‘Next jump. Next jump. Next jump. I’ve got to go higher.’
“I think once it sinks in, I probably won’t be as disappointed,” Hess added. “I guess just looking back I’ll be happy with second.”
Hess will be seeking to add to her state medal haul on Saturday. On Friday, she advanced through the preliminaries in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, events in which she captured gold medals at last weekend’s District Three Track and Field Championships.
“That was just with heats, and with heats you’ve got to pace yourself,” said Hess of the 100-meter. “But my heat was pretty fast.
“That’s (the 200 meters) an iffy one, because my leg has started to hurt at this point,” added Hess. “When you come to these big meets, you’ve got to push yourself.”
Also competing for the pride of Lebanon County was Northern Lebanon senior Dakota Leonhard, in the Class AAA shot put. Leonhard, who will also throw in Saturday’s Class AAA javelin, entered that particular competition seeded fifth, but did not earn a medal.
The Class AAA shot put was won by Knock junior stud Jordan Geist, with a national-best throw of 74-3.5, on his first attempt.
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Event 214 Girls Long Jump AA =========================================================================================== NFHS Record: ! 22-01.75 1976 Kathy McMillan, RaefordHCHS,NC PIAA Record: R 19-10.75 2000 Cassie Richards, WinchThurstHS 7 NFHS Hnr Rol: # 18-06 16-11.00 SQS Name Year School Seed Finals Wind Points =========================================================================================== Finals 1 Gambrell, Breana 10 Athens Area 04 18-08.25 19-03.75#SQS NWI 10 2 Hess, Reagan 11 Annvll-Cleona 03 18-06.00 19-01.00#SQS NWI 8 3 Rutherford, Raja 12 Seton-LaSalle 07 17-07.50 18-08.75#SQS NWI 6 4 Bauer, Lindsay 12 Salisbury Twp 11 17-10.50 18-06.75#SQS NWI 5 5 Schry, Miranda 11 Shenango 07 18-00.00 18-01.75 SQS NWI 4 6 Doherty, Brinn 12 Palmerton 11 17-02.75 18-00.25 SQS NWI 3 7 Cadden, Alexis 12 Villa Maria 10 17-02.00 17-10.25 SQS NWI 2 8 Ponton, Trinity 11 Wyomissing 03 17-08.50 17-09.75 SQS NWI 1 9 Dorsey, Avani 11 Imhotep 12 17-09.00 17-06.00 SQS NWI 10 Antal, Elsa 11 Riverside 07 17-01.00 17-05.25 SQS NWI 11 Martinazzi, Alyssa 10 Bshp Carroll 06 17-03.75 17-04.25 SQS NWI 12 Young, Kaylee 11 Ft Leboeuf 10 16-06.00 17-03.50 SQS NWI 13 Gonsar, Marie 11 Shenango 07 17-05.75 17-02.25 SQS NWI 14 Kwashie, Ama-Pauli 11 Imhotep 12 17-02.00 17-01.00 SQS NWI 15 Werner, Lydia 12 NE Bradford 04 16-11.75 17-00.75 SQS NWI 16 Seto, Maris 12 Brownsville 07 17-02.50 17-00.50 SQS NWI 17 Tama, Ally 11 Towanda 04 17-05.50 16-11.25 SQS NWI 18 Barnett, Sophia 11 Saint Basil 01 17-00.75 16-08.50 NWI 19 Estadt, Brooke 11 Lakeland 02 17-02.50 16-07.50 NWI 20 Gnall, Samantha 11 Mahanoy Area 11 17-01.50 16-06.50 NWI 20 Wittman, Hannah 12 Elk Cnty Cath 09 17-01.50 16-06.50 NWI 22 King, Cassidy 9 Johnsonburg 09 16-07.25 16-02.25 NWI 23 Roush, Zoe 10 Forest Hills 06 16-11.25 16-01.75 NWI 24 Clayborn, Tawilia 10 Mount Union 06 17-03.00 16-00.00 NWI 25 Olewine, Jillian 10 Nrthrn Lehigh 11 17-05.75 15-09.75 NWI 26 Bechter, Claire 10 Meyersdale 05 16-05.75 15-05.75 NWI 27 Bynum, Katrina 11 Mstry Chrtr N 12 17-02.00 15-05.50 NWI