Jun. 11—MORGANTOWN — Competing at the highest level is nothing new for University's Sierra Lanham.
She's already won a state championship in the long jump, earning that honor as early as possible as a freshman in 2019.
After her sophomore track season was canceled last year because of COVID-19, Lanham is going for a repeat in the Class AAA girls' long jump during this weekend's state meet at Laidley Field in Charleston. The AAA competition begins Friday and concludes Saturday.
According to runwv.com, Lanham is the favorite yet again to win the long jump state title, predicted to finished ahead of Hedgesville's Lauren Colbert and Buckhannon-Upshur's Chloe Cale.
But there is one major difference in Lanham from two years ago, and it may not be noticeable to many, but it changes her entire approach.
"I grew about an inch and I lifted a little bit during the off-season, " she said. "What I did my freshman year, I still use some of it today, but I do train almost every day, so whatever bad muscle memory I did, I would slowly work it out."
Lanham said one of the most important technical aspects of long-jumping is knowing your steps and where you need to be to maximize your speed. This can change on how much you grow, so before every season, coaches work to reconfigure how many steps it takes to get to the board.
"When I first started long jump in middle school, I would have to count in my head, " Lanham sad. "But now we get a measuring tape so when I start running in the same motion consistently I will mark a measurement and that's where I will start every time. In the beginning of every season, our coaches make us redo our steps just in case if we grew or if our steps change, which is a very common thing."
Lanham's personal record this season is 17-11, which she got at a meet at Clay-Battelle. Her personal best overall was at nationals in 2019, where she jumped 18-03.
To the Core Morgantown's Preston Core isn't about to let this opportunity at the state meet go to waste, especially after his sophomore season was canceled.
Competing in three events, Core is the favorite to win the 800-meter run, and since it's the last meet of the year, he said he will go all out and leave it all out there.
"I'm hoping my relay teams and I are able to walk away with some personal records and have a good time while doing it."
Core is joined by Alex Tadros, Zach Workman and Brady Mudry in the 4 ×400 relay, while he will race with Quinn Jacquez, Mudry and Workman in the 4 ×800.
"I think we're all looking forward to having the opportunity to compete and race against some of the best competition in the state, " Core said. "With it being our final race of the track season, my teammates and I are looking to give it our all and leave everything on the track, especially after having our last track season canceled."
Best of the rest A 32-year record was taken down at the Mylan Park Track Complex on May 29, and it was put up by a Morgantown native at the Mountaineer Showcase.
On a rainy and muggy Friday night, University's Josh Edwards posted a time of 8:49.04 in the 3, 200-meter run, and he is predicted to claim state titles in the 3, 200 and 1, 600 runs—second for the boys' high point behind Wheeling Park's Torrance Walker.
Morgantown's Irene Riggs is also having a stellar season for the Mohigans, and, like Edwards, is predicted to win the 1, 600 and 3, 200 on the girls' side. Riggs is also predicted to be the high-point winner on the girls' side.
For Preston, the highest predicted finishers are Allie Martin—one spot behind Riggs in the 3, 200—and Sierra Davis, finishing second in shot put.
The 400m and 3, 200m finals for boys and girls will be held Friday, while the rest of the meet will be Saturday All local runwv.com predicted winners include:
— Boys' long jump—Daminn Cunningham, University — Boys' 4 ×800—University — Boys' 800m—Preston Core, Morgantown — Boys' 1, 600m—Josh Edwards, University — Boys' 3, 200m—Josh Edwards, University — Girls' 800m—Lea Hatcher, Morgantown — Girls' 1, 600m—Irene Riggs, Morgantown — Girls' 3, 200m—Irene Riggs, Morgantown — Girls' 4 ×400—Morgantown — Girls' 4 ×800—Morgantown — Girls' long jump—Sierra Lanham, University TWEET @SeanManning_1