Rhinelander’s Rebecca Lawrence, center, stands on the podium after finishing tied for second in the Division 2 high jump at the WIAA state track meet at UW-La Crosse Saturday, June 1. Lawrence cleared 5 feet, 2 inches and was in a three-way jumpoff for the state championship.(Photos by Brett LaBore/Lakeland Times)
Rebecca Lawrence approaches the high jump during the WIAA state track meet at UW-La Crosse Saturday, June 1.
6/4/2019 7:30:00 AM Lawrence ties for second in state high jump
Rebecca Lawrence's postseason run has been all about second chances.
After she got to the WIAA state track meet as a special qualifier in the high jump, after thinking she missed out on a technicality, it seemed fitting that she made the most of her second chance -and then got another one with a state title on the line.
Lawrence tied her personal best of 5 feet, 2 inches, Saturday in La Crosse. That put her in a jumpoff for the Division 2 girls' state title. She was not able to match Taylor Wissbroecker's school record of 5-4, but it was still good enough to tie for second in the field of 17 competitors.
"It was pretty crazy," Lawrence said. "The jumpoff took awhile but I was really excited to hear that I got top three. It's still kind of surreal and I know that I'm just a sophomore so I'm happy that I get two more years to keep improving."
Lawrence came in right away as the bar was set at 4 feet, 10 inches. She made her first jump at 4-10, 5 feet and 5-2. That ended up coming in handy later in the competition. Twelve competitors were still alive when the bar moved up to 5-4. All 12 missed on all three attempts at the height. Only Lawrence and two other girls had made all of their jumps prior to 5-4, putting them in a three-way jumpoff for the state title.
"When I was doing my run-throughs, my jumps felt better than it ever felt before and so I was happy that I got to have no misses because that put me in that situation to have that jumpoff," Lawrence said. "The first jump at 5-4, I felt really good and I thought that I could get it, but I think at that point my legs were just getting really tired."
Lawrence, Wautoma's Maddy Weisensel and Dodgeville/Mineral Point's Nicole Johnson all had another crack at 5-4 in the jump off. When all three missed, the bar dropped to 5-3. All three missed again. Finally, Johnson got over the bar at 5-2 in the jump off to win the state title.
Rhinelander coach Aaron Kraemer said all those jumps in that short of a time took a toll all of the competitors.
"She had jumped basically a marathon, compared to what every other meet she's jumped in," he said of Lawrence.
Still, for Lawrence, simply getting into the field was a complicated matter. She matched the 5-2 height she jumped at sectionals, but she finished fifth there on a tiebreaker after being told, incorrectly, that she had placed in the top four and earned an automatic berth to the state meet.
Lawrence was added to the field by the WIAA because her height from sectionals was among the eight best marks across Division 2.
"She gave herself a chance to jump for the state championship and that's all you can ask for, to give yourself a shot," Kraemer said. "After everything she went through and in her sectional, being told that she was in and then not getting in, and then to get there and then - not only take second place, but then to get to her PR again at state - that's a great thing for her, an awesome accomplishments for her."
Lawrence admitted she was still in a bit of shock standing on the podium.
"It was pretty still surreal at that point, just standing there looking at how many people were we're seeing what I was doing and seeing all my accomplishments," she said. "I'm happy that I got to be out there on the podium. It just felt amazing to know that I was good enough to be up there."
Lawrence said pre-meet nerves turned into adrenaline, which helped in the early rounds and that she enjoyed her first experience at UW-La Crosse for the state meet. She now has her sights set on bigger goals for her junior and senior seasons.
"I know that I still have two more years to break that (school) record and so going over 5-4," she said.
Added Kraemer: "Two inches a year that gets us to like it's just a 5 foot 6 and then we're jumping for another state title next year and then the year after that. So I'm just I'm very proud of the way she finished today. I'm just ecstatic for her to be able to go home and say she's state runner-up. That's amazing."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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