Track and Field: Weiss, coaches recall tough road to triple jump state title

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Sometimes an athlete's final numbers on a results sheet do not tell the whole story.

For East Ridge junior Allyson Weiss, winning her second consecutive triple jump championship was more of a challenge than most people might have realized during the Class 2A state track and field meet on the morning of June 10 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

She won the state title with a jump of 40 feet, 1.25 inches. But getting there was a process that bordered on chaos.

Weiss started by missing with fouls on her first two trials in the triple jump preliminaries. However, the confusion started on her third and final trial of prelims. Weiss completed a jump of 38 feet, 5 inches, which would have been good enough to take the lead heading into finals.

But there was one problem. Weiss, who was the only athlete in the contest to jump from the 36-foot board, had her jump mismeasured by officials who were watching the wrong starting spot. The mismeasurement shortened the length of the jump to a mark that would not have allowed her to qualify for the finals.

The East Ridge coaches successfully appealed, but Weiss was not given much more than one minute before her re-jump, which ended up being a scratch. But coaches, disappointed with less-than-adequate recovery time between jumps, appealed once again.

The second protest lasted more than one hour, and Weiss recalls the stress while not knowing if she was going to get a chance to qualify for finals.

"It was really tough to get in the right mindset, so I ended up leaving the jump area," Weiss said.

Finally, officials agreed to give her a second re-jump. Even though a trip to the finals hinged on the second jump, Weiss decided to put in her max effort despite the added risk of another foul. The effort paid off as she broke her career personal record with the jump of 40.125, reaching a goal of 40-feet that she had been striving for all year.

When she broke the 40-foot mark, Weiss immediately ran over to hug her coaches and was brought to tears.

"I was just so happy that it was a legal 40," she said. "And just winning state is always emotional, too. But we've worked so hard just to get back to where we were last season."

Weiss also had to block out fresh memories of the East Ridge 4x200 relay team being disqualified in preliminaries the day before. The relay team of Weiss, Ansley Schug, Alex Doty and Nicole Tanski was disqualified after Weiss was lined up for a handoff outside the exchange zone.

The error, which was compounded by the fact that the East Ridge team was not allowed access to the instruction tent because they were not given a relay card, also weighed on Weiss the night before triple jump competition.

"That night I was just telling myself there was nothing I could do about it anymore," Weiss said.

For the East Ridge coaches, Weiss' nailing of her final jump was a lesson in perseverance.

"There just were a lot of negative thoughts going on, so it's hard to stay mentally focused amidst everything going on," East Ridge coach Coralea Cline said.

Weiss will have one more chance at high school track and field next year as a senior. Now that she has broken the 40-foot mark, she said her next goal is breaking the Minnesota triple jump record.