High-jumpers across the province take note: Paige Morris still has three more years of high school.
The Kildonan-East Collegiate Grade 9 student earned junior-varsity high-jump gold at the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s Milk Provincial Track and Field Championships on June 6. Morris’ jump of 1.56m sealed the deal over Shaftesbury’s Madison Lawrence, who attained 1.50m.
The three-day championship meet was held at the University of Manitoba’s Pan-Am Stadium.
Coach Curt Bauer said the jump that took gold wasn’t Morris’ best of the season, but her successful jump of 1.63m earlier this season was a university-level achievement, and helped turn heads at the provincial level. Morris has been working with provincial coach Mingpu Wu since the fall.
Bauer said since Morris, 15, knows she can reach heights of 1.63m, she had confidence she could emerge with a gold medal.
"She probably is the best one in terms of her form going over the bar," Bauer said. "She knows she has to work on her approach, becoming more explosive, and that will help her."
Morris was the first to attempt the 1.56m jump, and by completing it, put pressure on those coming after her. She said keeping her form ideal was in her mind as she approached the jump.
Morris started jumping last school year at Valley Gardens Middle School, and has been able to make natural improvements in how she approaches the event.
After striving to improve, Morris felt earning the gold medal was gratifying.
"It felt very rewarding after all the hard work I put in," she said.
"She’s super-athletic and a hard worker, and the potential is there," Bauer added.
Morris, who stands 5-10, also plays basketball and volleyball at both the high school and club levels. In club, she trains with Vision Elite for volleyball and the Blazers for basketball. With years left to make a decision of which sport to pursue, Morris plans to take everything in stride and just enjoy the fun of sport at this point in her budding career.
"I’ll see wherever they take me," she said.
Other athletes from northeast Winnipeg schools medalled. Murdoch MacKay’s Rebekah Eckert took gold, and Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau’s Gillian Hayek, Immanuel Christian’s Jon Cavers, and River East’s Isaac Henry (twice) and Joseph Barkman earned bronze.