Written by Corbett Smith
With title secure, Rockwall-Heath jumper tests her limit
AUSTIN — After her final triple jump, her best effort of the day, Rockwall-Heath’s Brianna Richardson tenderly walked from the jumping pit onto the track, limping slightly before bending down to take off her shoe.
Her day was mercifully over. She wouldn’t have to endure more pounding on her injured left leg.
“I told myself I was going to leave the pain until the end, and leave it all on the track,” Richardson said. “I just went out and jumped, and my last one was the best of them all.”
Richardson’s final jump of 40 feet, 51/4 inches put the finishing touches on the Class 4A girls championship, as she defended her title from a year ago.
But it wasn’t necessary. Just like in the long jump, which she won earlier in the day, Richardson uncorked a winning jump on her first attempt. After the field had finished, and her victory was assured, Richardson still tried to better her distance.
The Baylor signee succeeded in doing so, twice.
“A lot of coaches in the crowd said, ‘She’s already won, is she going to scratch her last jump?’” Rockwall-Heath jumps coach Kristin Marceau said. “I said, ‘No. She’s not going to scratch.’ She wants to improve herself, regardless of where she is. It’s not just good enough to win. She wants to do her personal best every time. And that’s what I love about her as an athlete.”
Richardson injured her left heel during the District 10-4A meet, which triggered an ankle sprain and a strained Achilles.
Marceau said the injuries greatly altered Richardson’s training regimen in the last month. Richardson did “as much as she could bear” while supplementing with rehabilitation and sprint work, Marceau said.
“Anything that was going to bother it, or inflame it, we had to avoid,” Marceau said. “That is difficult.”
Richardson said that she had a good feeling about the state meet when she uncorked a jump of 18 feet, 7 inches on her first attempt in Friday morning’s long jump. In her weaker event — “I don’t have any technique,” she joked — Richardson finished with a jump of 18-101/2.
Her goal was to set a personal best in the triple jump, exceeding her 42-foot jump earlier this season at the Texas Relays, the third-longest jump in the nation this year.
But just making it through the meet — and winning her fourth and fifth UIL medals — was welcome consolation.
“I was very impressed by my body making it through all these track meets, all these jumps,” Richardson said