The jumps are Parent’s game
With a jump of 37 feet, 2 inches in the long jump last year, Tess Parent would have been standing on the podium at the Class 4A state championships.
She had only one problem: she wasn’t even in high school yet.
Parent, now a sophomore at Inglemoor High, has been one of the best scoring girls on the Vikings’ track-and-field team, always one of the top performers in 4A Kingco. She tops the 4A Kingco list in the triple and long jumps. She is ranked in the top 10 in the 200 meters, as well as the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams.
She ranks third in the state in the triple jump, sixth in the long jump and is a member of the 4 x 100 that is ranked in the top 10. (All rankings are through last Friday.)
Not bad for a sophomore in her first year of high-school track. “Sky’s the limit for her,” Inglemoor head track coach D.J. Baddeley said. “I think she has the opportunity to do some really special things (during) the next couple of years.”
Parent may be just a sophomore, but no one can call her inexperienced. Parent started when she was in fourth grade as just the latest in a long line of sporting events.
“I’ve always been really active when I was a kid,” Parent said. “I guess I have a lot of energy, so I did a lot of running in elementary school for cross country, but I really liked sprinting and jumping and thought it was really fun.”
A naturally gifted athlete, Parent has always enjoyed sports, and has tried her hand at volleyball, soccer, softball, basketball and “pretty much anything I could get into.” She continues to play volleyball, and was on both varsity and junior varsity for the Inglemoor volleyball team in the fall, a rare feat for a team that had 11 of its 12 regular spots occupied by seniors.
But track is Parent’s true passion.
“It’s my favorite sport,” Parent said. “It’s really diverse. Being able to be with so may different kinds of people, I think it’s really fun. And I think that’s the best part. It’s really unique because people can do so many things and stand out in so many ways.”
While track is considered an individual sport, Parent said the camaraderie with the fellow students attracted her to it. That caught the eye of Baddeley, who made her one of four female co-captains on the track team this year.
“The best part about Tess is she has the athleticism, obviously — the ability and the talent — but it’s more about her mental approach,” Baddeley said. “She is a really even-keel kid and mature, and we actually made her a team captain. Not so much for her performance, but her general demeanor and attitude.”
Some people may focus on Parent’s age — particularly if she makes state.
“I don’t always think about grade level, but it would definitely be something that I feel really good about if I accomplish it (going to state),” she said.
Had Parent had her best jump last year (38-2) at the high-school state meet in the triple jump, she would have placed second. She is still working toward matching that this year, currently at 37-2 in what she calls her best event. She said she has two primary goals, one of which is to beat her personal best, and the other is to make state.
“I think it would be awesome if I could place at state,” Parent said with a smile. “I’m just looking forward to being there and seeing what people can do, and hoping I can just improve on what I’m doing and hope the practice in the season will pay off.”