Carlie Queen had been waiting for this moment a long time. And was before the lightning flashed and the rains came.
One high jump goal had kept eluding Queen, and it had made the Summit Christian Academy senior’s trips to the Missouri state track meet less than satisfying, almost disappointing: the all-class record of 5 feet, 9 inches that had stood since 2000.
Late Saturday night, in the shadows of a darkened Jefferson City High School stadium and nearly five hours after she was supposed to compete, Queen grabbed that record, and then some. Queen made the record hers with a leap of 5-9 ¼, and she embellished it with a personal-best 5-11. That’s the best jump ever by a Missouri high school girl and is tied for fourth on the current U.S. high school performance list.
“It was great to finally get that record,” Queen said. “I’ve been chasing it since my freshman year.”
Queen set the all-Class 2 record of 5-7 ¾ as freshman, but she never matched it as a sophomore or a junior as she battled injuries. When severe weather shut down the meet after 12:30 p.m. and kept it from resuming until after 6:00, she feared this would be another disappointing day.
“I’ve just never since that day had a good day at state, whether it was for injuries or not just on,” Queen said, “And I kind of thought it was going to start out the same way today.”
Queen’s fears appeared to come true when she missed her first two attempts at 5-6, even though she already had her fourth state title by then. She needed another three tries to clear 5-8, well under her previous outdoor best of 5-10 ¾.
Christie Queen, Carlie’s mother and an SCA assistant track coach, said her daughter was struggling to judge the distance to the pit. Part of the problem, she said, was having to jump under the lights.
“We’d been making some adjustments with her approach and I don’t think we had a lot of time to get all the kinks worked out,” Christie Queen said. “Plus, the shadow in front her was causing lots of issues.”
“I think the shadow of the pit was making me feel too far away,” Queen said. “I’ve never jumped in night before, so I think that kind of affected it.”
Queen said she had solved the problem before the 5-9 ¼ jump, which she made on her first try. After clearing the bar, she bounced up and gave a fist pump to her mother and her father, John Queen, who were watching from the coach’s area across the track.
“It was very exciting,” Christie Queen said about watching the record fall. “Very rewarding. Lots of joy.”
Queen made 5-10 on her third attempt and cleared a wobbling bar at 5-11 on her second try. She made three stabs at 6-0 before calling it a long day and night.
“More than the 5-11, the 5-9 ¼ was such a relief,” Queen said. “That has just plagued me for so long. I’m like I’ve jumped over this so many times I can do this, and so it was just such a relief to finally get that.”
Queen placed second in the Class 3 girls pole vault the day before, but she needed this record to consider her final trip to state before heading off to compete for Arkansas a success. Her mother knew she needed it, too.
“We’ve had two years in a row where injury issues kind of caused her to plateau,” Christie Queen said. “So this is very rewarding.”
Another three for Lee
SCA sophomore Lenetta Lee walked back to the awards tent after accepting her third-place medal in the Class 3 girls 200-meter dash. She couldn’t stray too far because she had another trip to the podium coming up.
Lee returned a few minutes later to receive her fifth-place medal in the Class 3 girls long jump, her final award for a three-final day that began with a fifth-place finish in the 100.
Lee ran personal-best times of 12.44 seconds in the 100 and 26.03 in the 200 and went 16-11 in the long jump. Last year she placed third in the Class 2 girls 100 and 200 and sixth in the long jump, but she feared jumping up a class would keep her from getting three medals this time.
“It felt good because I didn’t expect it,” Lee said. “Moving up from Class 2 to Class 3, there was more competition.”
SCA also had medal winners in Caden Robinson, who placed sixth in the Class 3 boys shot put, and Kaylee Lunn, who finished eighth in the Class 3 girls triple jump. The boys 1,600 relay team of Zach McConnell, Isaiah Vigliano, Tyler Evers and Malik Looney finished fifth.