Jumping for joy takes on a whole new meaning for Rachel Jerome.
The 13-year-old track and field athlete will represent Ladysmith as she heads to provincials in Burnaby this Friday and Saturday after meeting high school standards for midget girls.
With a personal best of 13.29 seconds for 100m sprint [the standard is 13.70 seconds] and a long jump personal best of 5.06m [the standard is 4.40m], Jerome qualified in the top 15 to make the tournament.
“I really love it, and it’s good exercise,” she told the Chronicle. “It’s a lot of fun, and you make lots of new friends too.”
Most recently, Jerome competed in the Vancouver Island High School Championships at UVIC and came first in the bantams girls’ triple jump with a distance of 10.39m, much further ahead than the second-place jump of 9.88m.
Jerome said her secret in competing is focus, rather than filling her head with pre-performance jitters.
“I don’t think of too much, just like my coaches tell me,” she said.
For the past two years, Jerome has competed with the Nanaimo Track and Field Club, and she practises four times a week. She competes in Zone 6, which is one of the most competitive in the province, as it includes all of Vancouver Island.
“It’s good competition,” she said, adding that the track and field community is a tight-knit group. “If you lose and they win, you’re still happy for them.”
When she’s not a hop, skip and a jump away from the track, Jerome plays volleyball to keep up her skills.
“With the long jump, you’re constantly practising your takeoff, and with volleyball, when you jump to attack the ball for a spike, that really helps to get up and over the ball,” she explained.
After provincials, Jerome will set her sights on tryouts for the BC Summer Games, which are being held in Duncan in two weeks.
She doesn’t know where her athleticism will take her, but for now, the Ladysmith Secondary School student says she is happy to keep reaching for those longer jumps.
“I’m not sure how long I’ll keep going, but I want to keep going for now,” she said.