As the 4x800s were just getting underway on the track at the beginning of the day on Sunday morning at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships, one of the day's biggest performances came on the far runway.
In his first attempt of the competition, Lampeter Strasburg's Ezra Mellinger put down the second best indoor long jump performance in state history. The senior jumped 24-11.5, a leap that would surely hold until the end of the competition.
Mellinger won the long jump state title and broke the 30-year-old meet record, formerly held by State College's Ron Dickerson since 1989. It's also the PA No. 2 all-time jump, behind only Dion Bentley's state record jump of 26-06.5 from 1989, as well.
"I tried to stay relaxed," he said. "That's where the big jumps come on the runway."
For Mellinger, he knew he had to get a big jump out early. As one of the favorites in the 60 meter dash, he'd have to get through rounds of the dash in the morning while the long jump was being contested.
"I didn't have to worry about whether or not I got a big jump in and I could focus more on the 60, so it was nice to have that in the beginning.
When he hit the pit on the big first jump, Mellinger said he surprised himself with the distance.
"I was expecting maybe a 23-11 and I would still be really happy with that," he said. "But then (the official) said 24 and then she said 11, and I was like 'wow!' and I was really happy with that."
The Duke recruit said 24 feet was his old goal. Now that he's achieved that, looking to the outdoor season, he'll be aiming for that extra half inch to get into the 25-foot range.
He wound up third in a very close 60 meter dash final, running 6.92 in the final (and ran 6.91 in both the prelims and the semis). It was quite the day for one of the winter's top breakthrough performers. After a third place finish at indoor states last year, he'll relish his first state gold medal.
"I was a little disappointed (last year)," he said. "I came back this year and I knew what I had to do. I came here with a purpose and it turned out good."
|1||Ezra Mellinger||12||Lampeter Strasburg||24-11.50||1|
|4||Jake Hefkin||12||State College Area High School||22-04.50||1|