There was perhaps no one more ready to get the indoor season started last month than Gabriella Recce.
And the results proved that.
Right out of the gates at the Ursinus Invitational on December 7, Recce popped a huge leap in the long jump -- a 19 foot, 3.75 inch jump, a major personal best and US No. 1 performance in the event at the time.
"I was really excited for the indoor season, so when the first meet came, I was really hyped up and I knew I could jump over 19," Recce said of her season-opening performance. "It just all came together. I remember what I worked really hard during the offseason for."
The multi-talented Recce is among the state and country's best in the long jump, triple jump, and pole vault. She's proving to be a talented sprinter, as well. Few are busier than the Central Dauphin senior at meets.
That was no different at Saturday's Douglas W. Wesner Invitational at Kutztown University. Recce registered wins in the pole vault (12-3) and the triple jump (37-2.75) -- her ninth and tenth event victories, respectively, on the young season. She did that while going back and forth between 55 meter dash heats. In the 55, she made the finals and ran a PR of 7.77 to take sixth.
She closed out her meet supplying a crucial third leg on CD's 4x200 meter relay. She moved the Rams from fourth to second, before anchor leg Raechel Bonner (third in the 55 finals) made a move to the lead and brought it home for the win in 1:52.96.
It's been a banner season for Recce already. Her 19-3.75 in the long jump to open up her season still sits at PA No. 1 and is currently a US No. 4. Her season best of 38-1.5 in the triple jump is PA No. 2 and US No. 21, and her best of 12-9 in the pole vault sits at PA No. 2 and T-US No. 6.
This success comes on the heels of her breakthrough junior season. In the spring, she earned three medals at the PIAA State Championships in Class AAA, placing fourth in the triple jump (38-5.25), third in the long jump (18-11.5), and second in the pole vault (12-6). All three were also outdoor PRs.
She's already bettered three of those outdoor bests this indoor season.
"It's got me really excited and I hope it opened the eyes of a lot of people saying that I am a competitor and I'm here to win," Recce said of her big start to the winter.
The always-on-the-go nature of the average meet for Recce is mirrored in her weekly schedule, which involves splitting time between practices at Central Dauphin in Harrisburg and the VaultWorX facility in Camp Hill.
She works with CD coach Shane Adams on sprinting technique and endurance, and then works with coach Matt Concannon on pole vaulting with the talented crop of vaulters at VaultWorX.
"There are two separate practices, but I'm able to balance both of those out," she said. "It's a lot of hydration, eating, and getting good sleep so I'm able to perform during both practices."
Recce isn't shy about discussing her big goals. After her big start in the long jump over 19 feet, she has her sights on 20 feet -- territory that has only been reached twice by PA girls in the last 30 years.
In the pole vault, she's first looking to join the eight girls in state history that have cleared 13 feet or better. On Saturday at Kutztown, Recce just missed an attempt at lucky 13. Moreover, Recce is also looking at the 14 feet as her ultimate goal in the event she calls her favorite. No girl in state history cleared 14.
Like usual, there will be little time for rest for Recce. She will be back in action at Saturday's Kevin Dare Invitational. She's entered in the long jump, triple jump, and pole vault, as well as the 4x200 meter relay. With strong competition and good runways, she likely has her sights set on more big performances.