By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
COLUMBUS — It is hard to imagine what Covington senior Jackie Siefring will have for an encore today in her final two high school races at the Division III state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium.
It will be hard to top what she did in becoming the Lady Buccs’ first state champion in winning the long jump — but, whatever it is, will be worth the price of admission.
Back in March, Siefring had said this would be her fourth time going to the state meet — it would be nice to finally win a state title.
Earlier this week, while being interview for a preview for the state meet — she said she would love to rip off a jump of 18 feet.
On Friday Siefring did both — in the most dramatic fashion — to fittingly earn her a state title on her sixth trip to the podium in her storied high school career.
“That was an unusual place to be,” Siefring said with a laugh after climbing down on the podium. “I had never been there before.”
For the longest time Friday, it didn’t look like either one of her hopes was going to come true.
Siefring’s longest jump in the prelims was 16-11 1-2 — and she couldn’t improve on that on her first two jumps in the finals.
“It was like, ‘Come on Jackie’,” Siefring said. “I had been doing 17 feet most of the time this year. At least get to that.”
She had entered the finals in sixth place — and by the time she was getting ready for her final attempt, six jumpers had reached 17-feet or farther, leaving Siefring in seventh place/
Madison Sury of Waterford of Sury was leading with a jump of 17-6 1-2.
As she prepared for her final jump, Siefring took a quick look to the sky.
“I said, God just let me enjoy my performace today,” she said as she stared at her state championship medal. “He came through.”
So did Siefring.
Her timing had been off all day — barely getting to the board before jumping.
And while she still had some more room, she came closer to getting to the end of the board before jumping this time.
“My coach (Dave Tobias) said my jump wasn’t good, but it turned out pretty good,” Siefring said with a smile.
As she soared through the air, she had one thought.
“White Flag, White Flag, White Flag,” Siefring said in hopes she hadn’t fouled.”
When she landed, she turned to see the white flag and looked over at the tape measure as they were measuring.
“I am blind,” Siefring said with a laugh. “I have contacts, but they irritate my eyes, so I don’t wear them when I jump. So, I couldn’t see anything.”
Then, she heard one of the officials say, “Are you sure?”
“I figured it was something in the mid 17s,” she said. “I knew it was good.”
But, never was she expecting to hear what she heard next — 18-feet and three quarters of an inch — a new PR, school record and the new leader in the state long jump with five girls to go.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Siefring said.
But, she said waiting for those five girls to jump before her state title to become official was no big deal.
“Those are my ‘chill’ girls,” Siefring said. “I know most of them and we all get along real well. I would have been happy for them (if they had beaten me). I was going to be happy with my performance, either way.”
It capped as good a day as Siefring could hope for.
In both the 100 hurdles (14.66) and 300 hurdles (44.55) she had the second fastest time for today’s finals behind Morgan Rice of Warren John F. Kennedy.
In the 300 hurdles, the defending D-II state champion Carly Truckor of Evergreen was in Siefring’s heat and Siefring beat her.
“I was kind of surprised when they announced that (that Truckor was D-II champ last year),” Siefring said. “I didn’t know the D-II champ was in our division this year. I was happy with the way those races went.”
She just missed qualifying for the finals of the 100, with the 10th fastest time of 12.69.
“I gave it a shot,” Siefring said. “But, with my hip, that is the toughest race for me — coming right after the 100 hurdles. It would have been nice to have gotten on the podium in four events, but I knew it was going to be tough.”
In fact, the hip injury, which has bothered her for five weeks — had lowered her expections coming to state.
“To be honest, I just wanted to come over here and have fun,” she said. “I never thought the state title would come in the long jump — I thought the 300s were my best shot.”
They still might be — and it will definitely be worth the price of ticket to see what Siefring has in store today.