Admittedly, neither high jump or track and field in general were something that Williamstown freshman Addison Inge expected to be a main focus of her high school career back when the spring track season got underway just a few short weeks back.
“She kind of snuck up on me,” said head track coach Magan Winters. “She didn’t do winter track, instead she played basketball, and she just came out this season really to try it out.”
Despite the apparent suddenness of Inge’s arrival on the track, all the freshman has done during her short spring track career with the Braves is continue to progress, leading her to recently break the program high jump record, eclipsing 5 foot, 4 inches during the SJ Open at Delsea High School in the middle of May.
After having done long jump in middle school and spending time with the sprints team earlier this season, Inge moved to high jump just to try it out, which both Inge and her coach said felt like something she naturally grabbed ahold of and felt comfortable doing.
That Inge picked up the event so quickly is something she didn’t expect, especially since she hadn’t tried high jump at any point previously in her track career. Initially, she set a lofty goal for herself of reaching five feet, which she didn’t realize at the time was an impressive mark from the start.
“I really wasn’t expecting to be good at it at all,” Inge said. “At first I thought maybe it would be cool to jump like 5-foot, but I didn’t realize how big of a deal reaching that is. After hitting that, I just kept moving up and people kept congratulating me in school about reaching that height …
“It’s definitely different, because I wasn’t expecting any of this for me with track.”
Speciality events such as high, triple and long jump often take a while for most student-athletes to get comfortable in before excelling like Inge has, due to the amount of technique, form and practice they require. Fortunately, Inge has been a quick learner, which she credits to her coaches and teammates.
“It’s definitely been difficult but my coaches and teammates made it a lot easier by showing me the way as I got started,” she said. “Going from the running events to the jumping events was different. It’s a different environment for sure, and it took some time, but I got used to it.
“Having our dual meets before invitationals and weekend meets were a big help, too, being able to be over there and go through it all before weekend meets that count for MileSplit was a big help,” she added.
Winters and Jon Jernigan, the team’s jumps coach, started researching what the spring track high-jump record was for the girls program after Inge’s first few meets earlier this season, after Jernigan said he was confident Inge would break the record by the end of the season.
Sure enough, Inge proved her jumps coach correct.
“I saw a young female with a lot of potential that’s still yet to be fully tapped into,” Jernigan said. “Everything she’s doing right now is still kind of just testing the waters … she’s one of the most athletic individuals I’ve had the chance to work with in high school so I’m excited to see where this takes her.
“She started excelling pretty much as soon as she got to high jump and she’s a constant worker that’s not scared to compete, so as she continues to gain even more experience each day she’s just going to keep getting better,” he added.
Inge was a part of both the volleyball and basketball teams this fall and winter, two sports she initially expected to be more focused with before her recent success in high jump this spring.
Now, however, Inge may have another sport on her mind.
“I was doing track at first just as a way to stay in shape,” she said. “I didn’t think anything of it really, but now I can see myself maybe doing one of these in college maybe.”