When the state track and field officials bring out the steel measuring tape, a state record is in jeopardy.
The downside for McPherson senior Elle Barrett was it took longer to find out if she had achieved a personal record. As the tape was stretched out, Barrett crossed her fingers in anticipation.
"I was so nervous," Barrett said. "I was just hoping that it was worth all of that time to find out."
The wait was worth it on Friday afternoon at Cessna Stadium.
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On her last triple jump attempt of her high school career, Barrett cleared 39 feet, 11.5 inches to win the Class 4A title. On the jump, Barrett shattered a 20-year-old state meet record by 10.5 inches, moved up to No. 8 all-time in Kansas history, and won her third straight 4A triple jump title.
It also capped off Barrett's career, as she won the 4A long jump title earlier in the day with a leap of 18-1.5. Barrett, who has signed with Washburn, finished her career with five state titles.
"I guess it was the perfect way to finish," Barrett said.
"I feel really, really blessed. A lot of people don't have the coaching staff or the teammates or the support that I have. I'm just fortunate enough to have all of that."
It's that humbleness that has made Barrett one of the favorite athletes the McPherson coaching staff has had over the years. Even though she's one of the state's best, Barrett almost never takes credit for her accomplishments.
Watching from the stands, her parents were beaming with pride before Barrett stepped to the runway for her final attempt.
"We're just so proud of the person that she is," said her father, Dave Barrett. "Everything else is secondary."
While she rarely shows outward emotion during competition, it was clear Barrett was chasing a PR on her final attempt in the triple jump. She had already secured the title, but had one last chance to clear the 39-foot barrier.
When it comes to goals, Dave Barrett said his daughter is ultra-competitive.
"She has a quiet competitiveness about her," he said. "She wants to be a good sport, but she also does not want to lose. If there's a score involved, it matters. That's academically, too. If there's a score involved, she wants to be the best."
On her final jump, Barrett was at her best.
The key was the second phase of the triple jump, which is the bound between the first and second hop. On Friday, her jumps coach, Dustan Kanitz, challenged Barrett to clear the long jump board by her second phase. She was a step past on her final jump.
"My coaches told me to get past the long jump board and if I did that, then I knew it would be a pretty big jump," Barrett said.
"It was just huge," Kanitz said. "I've never seen a bigger second phase from any of these jumpers here."
It was a perfect ending for Barrett, who was finally able to reflect on her career and competing at Cessna Stadium over the years.
"This was a pretty special day just because it's my last time," Barrett said. "I'm definitely going to miss this a lot."