Whitman junior Jackie Crunden qualified for her third straight trip to the state indoor track and field championships over the weekend, and she did it in record fashion.
Crunden, a gifted high jumper, cleared 5 feet, 7 inches at the state qualifier to place second. It was a personal best and broke a 20-year-old school record held – coincidentally – by current Whitman teacher, Pam Johnson.
“Jackie Crunden is a phenomenal athlete,” Whitman Girls Track Coach Rufus Shepard said.
This is Crunden’s third year competing at the varsity level and her third trip to states.
Crunden took the Suffolk Large School title in the high jump (5-5) and has registered the second-best jump in the state this indoor season, according to DyeStat.com.
“I feel that Jackie has a great chance of placing in the top three at states,” Shepard said. “She has beaten the No. 1 seed [Glenn’s Kaitlin Whitehorn] twice last year, but has yet to beat her at the big meets. Jackie will use that as a motivation factor to help her achieve her goal.”
Crunden will have plenty of company. She’s one of four Whitman athletes who qualified for the NYSPHSAA championship at Cornell’s Barton Hall in upstate Ithaca on March 3.
Distance runner Zach Cammer, a junior who ran at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago, qualified in the 1,600 meters. His time of 4 minutes, 28.15 seconds is tops in Suffolk. Whitman Boys Track Coach Rob Conroy expects Cammer to be a factor at states.
Junior Mike Damato ran second in the 3,200 (9:36.72) to qualify while senior Gregory Apostle qualified in the 600 (1:26.42).
“I’m looking to set a personal record in the states,” Apostle said. “Having teammates at the states makes it extra special.”