ELKHART – Before the 2015 track and field season started, Elkhart High School's Ashley Buck didn't think she had a chance to make it to the state track and field meet.
But after help from Elkhart track and field coach Kodi Huff, Buck is one big leap away from being a state champion.
Buck will be the lone Elkhart High School representative at the Class 3A state track and field meet May 13-16 in Austin at Mike A. Meyers Stadium. Buck qualified for state by finishing first in the girls triple jump with a jump of 36-08 on Saturday at the Class 3A-Region 3 track meet in Waco at Baylor University.
“I'm just really excited and happy,” Buck said. “It's kind of crazy to do it as a sophomore.”
Buck said she wasn't surprised that she qualified for state because of the legitimate shot she had before going into the meet.
“I knew I had a chance because my step-dad keeps up with the stats and he told I was second from a girl I competed against in district,” Buck said. “So I knew I had a chance but I didn't think it would actually happen.”
Buck said when the season started she wasn't jumping near to where she is now.
“At the start of the season, I was jumping at 32 and 33 feet but now I can jump to 36 feet and I'm going toward a 37 foot jump,” Buck said.
Buck started competing in the triple jump during the seventh grade.
“I started doing long jump but I wasn't very good at it,” Buck said. “My coaches threw me in it just to see how I would do.The first time I competed in a triple jump event, I got first and I fell in love with it ever since.”
Buck said Huff has helped her a lot in growing her track and field skills.
“Running wise, I wasn't very good but then I moved here and she pushed me to my limits and she taught me that I could do anything as long as I worked hard at it and that reflected with my triple jumping. Even if I was having a bad day or not jumping as good as I usually did she kept my head up and pushed me to my limits to make me a better jumper and runner,” Buck said.
Buck said she tries to practice triple jumping every day after she goes for a run. Before she competes in a triple jump event she goes through a series of preparations.
“I do my stretches then I get down on my knees and I just pray. Then I talk to coach to calm my nerves. I ask God to keep me calm and do whatever he wants me to do and I'll give all the glory to him,” Buck said.
Buck says she has a good chance at contending while competing at state.
“I think I have a chance to at least get first through third,” Buck said. “Because I'm pretty close to the girl thats in first right now but I think I can rise to my competition.”
Buck has a bunch of room to continue having success in triple jump because she is just a sophomore.
“I definitely think they'll be more trips to state in my future,” Buck said.