Ava Bullock attempting a jump at  Round Lake High School.
Ava Bullock attempting a jump at Round Lake High School.
Abby Gedville

Over the Bar

The Lakes high jump team is done with the indoor season and looking forward to their outdoor season. They are locking in for a season full of meets and top finishes, and most importantly preparing for a run at state.

As the world outside defrosts from winter, there are few people that are more excited than those in track, especially Coach Steph Gates and senior high jumpers Thomas Mercure and Ava Bullock. Coach Gates is extremely excited with the number of returners this year and newcomers who look very promising. Mercure and Bullock are looking forward to this big season that have been in the works for years. Now that the indoor season is over, it’s time for them to mentally prepare to seek victory throughout their season. Mercure is looking to repeat and Bullock is ready to enact revenge on the road to state.

Bullock was frustrated that she was unable to make it to state last year; however, she is only an inch away from the state qualifying high jump at 5’2. Bullock says, “I feel like I could have done better last season, and I was upset I didn’t make it to state.” That extra inch at sectionals would guarantee her entry into state this season. Otherwise, she would have to compete for first if no other girls were able to jump 5’2,” which would be the only other way to make it to state. As for the girls outside of high jump, Bullock, like the rest, are hoping to go back-to-back as conference champions. She said that was one of her favorite moments and something that would help make a successful season.

“I hope to qualify for state,” Mercure adds on. He and Bullock are the two highest jumpers for their teams, respectively, which gives them the best chance to make it all the way. Coach Gates would love for them to achieve their aspirations and is ready to help in any way she can. She says, “I believe that we have a couple of kids that can make it [to state], besides that, I just want to see individual progress.” Her philosophy is simple. Coach Gates wants to see the very best out of each of her jumpers. So long as her jumpers give it their all, she is willing to give her all for them.
A coach that wants to see you succeed is an easy coach to compete for. Coach Gates would especially like to see the girls bring home a sectional title, which would make it the second time in three years. On top of that, she said, “I want to win the Stevenson meet again,” a meet that she believes brings an extra level of difficulty and good energy to the team. The boys were able to steal a win last year, and Coach Gates is looking to duplicate that result. Now that the team is getting back to full strength with winter sports ending, Coach Gates is excited to get everyone back on one page. Mercure, who just finished basketball, is hoping to improve his record from 6’3” and get to 6’5.” A slight improvement of only two inches can make all the difference when going neck and neck for a spot at state.

This select group of Eagles are ready to get outside and start jumping at outdoor meets for more awards, and when that time c

“But if you’re growing throughout the season, that’s a win”

— Coach Gates

omes, this team will be a force to be reckoned with. The high jump team is improving day in and day out, which is all Coach Gates says she can really ask for. “You’re not going to be consistently setting personal records at every meet,” Gates says. “But if you’re growing throughout the season, that’s a win.”

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