Primed already for what should be a memorable senior year, Jordan Lanning is heading to North Carolina A&T University's Aggie Stadium represent the Centennial State when she invades the 2018 USA Track & Field/Hershey National Junior Olympic T&F Championships, to be held July 23-29.
"This is amazing to me," Lanning said on Monday. "I mean, just imagining.going to State would be awesome, but now I get to go to 'nationals'? I'm super pumped; it's probably one of the biggest competitions that I'm going to, so I'm excited!"
"I'm not surprised," said Karri McCarter, coach of the fledgling local Triple Crown Track Club. "Jordan's a pleasure to work with; she's super coachable and it's been a lot of fun just adding strength and conditioning to her. And we haven't even really done a lot of conditioning; she came right from State track and we started right into these USA Track and Field meets, trying to get her qualified."
Having done so at the USATF Region 10 Championships July 5-8 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora, Lanning will step onto the national stage in both the high jump and long jump, with the former beginning at noon local time on Wednesday, July 25. Also a finals-only event, the latter will start the next morning at 8 a.m.
"The long jump, I wasn't expecting to qualify in, but apparently I did!" Lanning quipped. "But I definitely feel more confident with the high jump, you know; it's kind of 'my' event. And physically I'm feeling pretty good. I took a four-day break after regionals, so I feel refreshed."
With a 5'5" best in the high jump, Lanning had been victorious at the USATF Colorado State Championships (6/21-24) by a massive 7.25 inches. Her 17'4" long jump held up for second, behind only Aurora Cherokee Trail grad/Colorado Mesa University recruit Chian DeLoach's 17'8.75" effort.
Lanning's 15.62 timing in the 100-meter hurdles landed her fourth-meaning BHS' standout advance to the Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, part of Texas regional in all three events.
In her return to Legacy, however, she slowed to 16.85 in the hurdles' finals and ended up sixth. But despite a shorter 16'7.75" long jump, she managed to hang onto fourth place-and thus a spot at nationals-behind DeLoach's improved, winning 18'1".
"You know, the Denver area has a lot of good girls," said Lanning, "so it was good competition."
And resistance also came from far away.
Having trailed the 2018 CHSAA Class 5A State Championships' long jump runner-up, Lanning found herself dueling 6A Gilbert, Ariz., Highland's Cierra Tidwell for top billing in the high jump. Tidwell is the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I State Champion in 2017 (5'6") and '18 (5'8").
In the end, Tidwell (who finished sixth in the long at 16'4.25") and Lanning each managed to clear 5'7", but the Arizona Elite club representative did so with fewer misses.
"I was kind of expecting I would get first," admitted Lanning, "but I didn't realize this girl.could get five-eights and stuff! So she beat me, but it was great competition; I enjoyed it a lot."
"It's just been kind of fine-tuning form for her, and she's really brought it all around," McCarter said. "When you make form changes you don't always get the best results until you perfect that, and right now everything's starting to be perfected. So I'm hoping she'll go out at nationals and break some p.r.'s!"
Entered in the Women's 17-18 age class for her maiden East Coast excursion, Lanning indicated similar hopes but didn't want to go in having set them unattainably high.
"I think I'm 20th in high jump nationally, so not super-high," she said. "I want to maybe try for a p.r. of 5'8". Probably not getting places, but p.r.'s and records for myself."
"It is quite an honor for her," beamed BHS head track coach Josh Walton. "It's going to be exciting to see what she's able to do both there, and then next year when she's a senior!"