Waterman Leaps To State

New Knoxville's Melisa Waterman competes in girls long jump during the Division III Regional Track and Field Meet on Wednesday in Troy.
Sports Editor

There has certainly been a changing of the guards at girls high jump.

A combined 10 freshman competed in the event at the Division III Regional Track and Field meet in the last five years, but day one of Wednesday’s regional meet featured seven freshmen and all but one qualified for state.

One of those freshmen, of course, was New Knoxville’s Melisa Waterman, who qualified via tiebreaker for fourth place. The top four finishers in each final event on Wednesday advance to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium next week in Columbus.

“I peaked at the right time at districts and at regionals and it was the perfect time to peak at the highest,” Waterman said. “I didn’t really feel good going into regionals because at districts, I PR’ed by four inches and I didn’t think I would be able to do it again. It has been an experience to see what I can get.

“It’s really cool.”

The freshman matched her PR with a 5-foot, 2-inch jump in what turned out to be a tight competition.

Waterman needed just two jumps to pass the 5-foot-2 bar and five jumpers remained with the bar at 5-foot-4. Springfield Catholic Central’s Mallory Mullen and Fort Loramie’s Abby Wrasman cleared the bar at 5-foot-4, but Waterman, Tri-Village’s Maria Petry and the lone senior to qualify, Troy Christian’s Kenley Blake each missed the bar at 5-foot-4, leaving three jumpers left for two spots.

To break the tie then, officials awarded Blake and Waterman third and fourth place finishes, respectively, leaving out Petry because it took her three tries to clear the bar at 5-foot-2 or that she had more misses than Blake and Waterman.

Waterman is the first Ranger girl to qualify for state in high jump in school history. Theresa Chalk owns the school record of 5 feet, 4 inches in 1995, but she did not qualify for state.

“We’re excited for Melisa,” Rangers coach Samantha Fledderjohann said. “Going into regionals, we knew she had a chance. She works hard every day to perfect her speed, form and jump.” 

Waterman will compete at 4 p.m. next Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

A Ranger with a chance to join Waterman is 200-meter dash sprinter Lola Thompson.

Thompson placed seventh with a time of 26.74 in the prelims on Wednesday. The top two times in each meet and the next best four advances to the finals on Friday.

In other action on Wednesday, Jacklyn Leffel placed 11th in long jump with a leap of 5 feet and last year’s state qualifier Erin Scott ended her career by reaching podium, placing eighth in shot put with a toss of 34 feet, 1.25 inches.