A young woman from little Melrose, Minnesota is the triple jump champion of the United States of America.
Amanda Smock, a native of the Stearns County town (population 3598), won her first USA title on Friday by landing a personal-best 46-2 on her second attempt of the competition at the USA Outdoor Track and championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Smock’s mark withstood a final round scare from Crystal Manning who leaped 45-9 for second.
“It’s a great feeling,” Smock said. “The bigger goal as a triple jumper is that you’re always trying to get that mark and reach that distance. But, the win is huge and it’s a great feeling, so I’m thrilled with that as well.”
“It’s like a little icing on the cake of a PR,” she added.
With the win, Smock earns the right to represent the USA at the World Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, if she can jump World Championships “B” standard of 46-3 1/4 prior to the event.
Smock did lament missing the standard by just an inch-and-a-quarter and wondered if she didn’t leave the missing units behind on the takeoff board.
“I got three centimeters shy of that stinking “B,” Smock regretted, “but, obviously, I’d like to get the “A,” so there’s still some work to be done.”
Smock plans to travel to Europe – possibly in Belgium, Spain, and Finland -- in search of the Daegu qualifier. The “A” standard for the meet is 46-11.
With the win, Smock also stepped alone into the spotlight that shined mainly on her former training partner and close friend Shani Marks, an Olympian in 2008. Smock has been training on her own recently and continues to work long-distance with coach Michael Eskind of the University of Virginia.
Smock also weathered some important life changes off the track en route to the top step of the podium in Eugene.
“I lost my father about two weeks before the national meet in ’08,” Smock said. “So, that was a little rough. I just kind of had to keep persevering. I got my Ph.D. in there and got married. And this year, it felt like, okay, now I can focus on training. And, it’s all coming together.”
Remarkably, Minnesotans have won four of the last six USA Outdoor women’s triple jump titles. Marks won three-straight titles in the event in 2006, 2007, 2008 in addition to Smock’s on Friday.
Team USA Minnesota’s Meghan Armstrong was the only other Minnesotan competing in a final on Friday. The Oregon native finished 15th in 16.12.79.
Kara Gocuher, who was entered in the event, did not start the race. She finished second in the 10,000m last night.
Qualifying Races … Neither Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf nor Laura Januszewski advanced to Sunday’s women’s 800m final. Januszewski, a Burnsville High School alumnus, finished 7th in the first semifinal of the event in 2:04.88. Kampf finished 5th in the second semi in 2:03.54.
Kampf’s Team USA Minnseota teammate Jamie Cheever was likewise unable to advance to the 3000m steeplechase final, running 10:08.44 for 10th in her prelim.
USA Junior Championships Action … Two Minnesota high school athletes placed seventh at the USA Junior Championships, also being contested in Eugene.
Trevor Yedoni, the two-time MSHSL Class AA state high jump champion from Benilde-St. Margaret’s, finished 7th in the event with a leap of 6-8 ¾. Yedoni cleared the height – the event’s opening height -- on his third try and then had misses at 6-9 ¾.
Andover High School junior Tom Anderson, the MSHSL Class AA shot put state champion, finished 7th in the event with 59-9 ¾. His 58-5 ¾ opening throw put him into the finals.
Hopkins senior Bridget Sweeney, the MSHSL Class AA runner-up, advanced to the finals with a 55.46, third-place clocking in her heat of the 400m. Sweeney advanced as the 7th qualifier to Saturday’s final.
Sweeney's teammate Hannah Borowsky finished 5th in her heat in the junior 800m, running 2:11.78t. She finished a non-advancing 11th overall.
Buffalo High School hurdler Jerome Begin finished a non-advancing 4th in his preliminary heat of the 110 hurdles in 14.39. It took 13.90 to advance in the event.
Find complete Friday USA Championships results HERE.
Photos by Becky Miller.