A Jump in Expectations

  • By Daniel Whitehead
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  • January 20, 2012 01:57 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Senior Meghan Mock can thank her friends for the long list of achievements she’s attained as a collegiate jumper. After all, if it wasn’t for them, she may have never explored the long jump route.

While in high school, the Berkeley Springs, W.Va., native was on a run preparing for a regional competition when her friends joked that she should try out the long jump. Nonchalantly she gave it a whirl and the next thing she knew she was competing at regionals in the long jump and qualified for states. Little did she know at the time it would become her expertise in college, and one of the best in the country, at that.

“I was actually recruited here as a high jumper, but it just turned out that I was a lot better at the long jump,” she said.

Although she still competes in the high jump, the switch over to long jump is more impressive considering she’s tied with teammate Sydney Cummings for the West Virginia state high school record with a mark of 5’8’’ in the high jump.

A third team All-American last season in the long jump, Mock earned the honor with a 20th-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships at 6.02 meters. Before qualifying for the NCAA East Regional for the first time of her career, she set a personal-best 6.17-meter mark at the Penn Relays, which ranks third best all-time at WVU and a standard she hopes to lengthen this season.

“I jumped 20 feet last year – it would be awesome to make it to 21, but it will be a lot of hard work,” she says. “I really want to make it back to nationals, so that’s my main focus right now.”

A soccer player growing up, Mock’s family didn’t think she would excel in sports despite her oldest brother playing soccer and an older brother playing football at Carnegie Mellon. However, events such as the high jump and triple jump require some of the highest levels of strength, technique and overall athleticism in track and field.

“You need both strength and technique to succeed in the sport,” she said. “You can have somebody who’s strong but has poor technique, or someone with good technique who’s not as strong.”

Mock also has the comfort of knowing she is coached by one of the best in the jumping industry in WVU assistant coach Shelly-Anne Gallimore.

“She does an awesome job,” Mock said. “If I don’t understand something, she’ll break it down so I completely understand it. I’ve never had a coach that can break something down as well as she can. If there’s something in particular that I’m struggling on, we’ll work on it. If it’s important to me, she’ll work it in to what we’re doing.”

At Saturday’s WVU State Farm Games, Mock will look to improve on her marks as the team prepares for the BIG EAST Championships next month. She already qualified for BIG EAST in the long jump with a 5.53-meter mark at last week’s Nittany Lion Challenge.

“I'm not sure if I'm doing the triple jump or not,” she said. “If I do, I'd like to beat my mark from last year and qualify for BIG EAST with a good jump. I wasn't that far away from it last year, but I didn't really practice it much. We lifted a lot this week so I’ll be a little sore, but my goal is to just do my best. We're building up our strength and endurance for later in the year.”

Looking to jump past last year’s breakout marks on to another All-American season, the senior will one day thank her friends for their challenge to expand the horizon.