Freshman Morgan Smalls Clears 5-10.75 To Finish 3rd At New Balance Nationals!



Morgan Smalls (Panther Creek) has got High Jump figured out.  Smalls entered Panther Creek with promising potential to be a star after jumping 5-10 in middle school.  Smalls competed in the event just three times this indoor season with a season's best of 5-2. 

Through the early stages of the outdoor season, Smalls had improved 2 inches from her middle PR with a jump of 5-2.  April 20th is when Smalls had her first breakthrough where she set a 4 inch PR of 5-6 putting herself in the mix as a potential state meet qualifier out of the 4A Mideast.

Small did more than just qualify for the state championships at the regional meet, she put herself on the map on the national stage with a mark of 5-9.  At the time the mark served as NC#2 to Rocky River's Kenya Livingston.  Livingston would serve as her biggest competition at the NCHSAA 4A State Championships in a really strong girls High Jump field.  Livingston was also the defending champion and two-time defending NCHSAA 4A Indoor State Champion in the event.

6 girls, including Smalls, cleared 5-6 at the State Championships, but Smalls was the only girl to clear 5-8 giving her her first individual state title. 

Smalls had qualified for the Championship section at New Balance Outdoor Nationals, and once again went up against a loaded field that had to be pretty intimidating for the freshman.  Smalls opened up at 5-3 which she cleared on the first attempt.  Smalls cleared the next three heights on the first attempt getting all the way up to 5-8.75 with no misses.  The bar went up to 5-10.75 with 10 girls remaining.  Defending Champion Jelena Rowe (Illinois) was the only girl to clear the bar on her first attempt. Freshman Jenna Rogers (New Jersey) cleared the height on her 2nd attempt.  Leaving Smalls in a group of 8 others trying to make the jump.  On Smalls third attempt she struck gold as she set a new NC#1 and NC#4 All-Time mark of 5-10.75.  

Rowe, Rogers and Smalls were the only three remaining as the bar rose to 6-0.75.  If Smalls or Rogers cleared the height it would break US High School National Record holder Vashti Cunningham's freshman class record.  Both Rogers and Smalls are very tall, but Jelena Rowe still has about 6 inches on them which had to be somewhat intimidating.  Everyone missed on their first attempt.  On the second attempt, Rogers cleared the height adding massive pressure to Rowe and Smalls.  Neither were able to clear the height, but Smalls was ecstatic about the performance.  Due to Rowe clearing 5-10.75 on the first attempt Smalls would place 3rd overall.  

Interview with Morgan Smalls after taking 3rd at New Balance Outdoor Nationals

Smalls third place finish earned her All-American status and moved her to NC#1 and US#8 in the event this season.  Smalls will be the fourth best returner in the high jump headed into the 2018 track season.  Smalls improved 10.75 inches in the high jump this season which is a truly insane break through.  She ranks NC#4 All-Time in the High Jump as a freshman and will have three years to challenge the North Carolina State Record of 6-1 that was set by Adriane Sims of Douglas Byrd in 1997.  Below is the current top 5 athletes in North Carolina history in the event. Smalls and Livingston are the only active athletes on the list that will compete in the 2018 season.


Rank

Name

School

Height

Year

1

Adriane Sims

Douglas Byrd

6-1

1997

2

Patience Coleman

Southern Durham

6-0

2004,2006

3

Lindsay Taylor

Watauga

5-11.75

1997

4

Morgan Smalls

Panther Creek

5-10.75

2017

5

Cindy Floyd

Swansboro

5-10

1982

5

Kenya Livingston

Rocky River

5-10

2016,2017

5

Anita Curry

Williams

5-10

1988

5

Myra Horton

Mt. Pleasant

5-10

1991

5

Laila Thomas

Jacksonville

5-10

2003

5

Danielle Adams

Northside (Jacksonville)

5-10

2008

5

Qizeah Jackson

Westover

5-10

2014


Smalls 3rd place finish was also the best by any North Carolina individual at New Balance Nationals.  

High Jump is going to be North Carolina's strongest events heading into next season with 6 girls returning over 5-6.

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