Hanford Champion
Year: 2008
Team: Track (Girls)
Name: Taymussa Miller (High Jump - 5'5")
STATE CHAMPION
Taymussa Miller woke up Friday morning with a good feeling about her chances in the 3A girls high jump competition.

The Hanford junior kept her feelings to herself, though. "I didn't want to jinx myself," she said.

A few hours later, Miller was more than happy to share her emotions. A year after failing to qualify for state, she went home a state champion, clearing 5 feet, 5 inches at Edgar Brown Stadium to win at Star Track XXVI.

"I did want to make up for what happened last year," Miller said. "I was a lot more focused this year and worked very, very hard for this."

Miller beat last year's champion, Kamiakin junior Elise Jepsen, clearing 5-3 on her second attempt while Jepsen went out at that height.

But Miller wasn't satisfied. "I would have been disappointed if I won but only made 5-3," she said.

She came through on her final attempt at 5-5, then took three jumps at 5-7, trying to beat her own school record of 5-6 -- set earlier this year at the Pasco Invite -- and almost made it on her third try.

How does she explain her success here?

"The bar, it just seems lower here," she said.

The entire event had the feel of a Columbia Basin League meet as four of the top six jumpers were from the Tri-Cities.

Jepsen's sister, Emily, and teammate Allyssa Thompson finished in a four-way tie for third, providing nine of the Braves' Day 1-leading 31 points.

"I had flashbacks to districts," said Elise Jepsen. "I loved jumping with all of us here."

And was she sad about giving up her crown?

"No way," Jepsen said. "Taymussa is a good jumper. I wanted her to go even higher."

Thompson came to the high jump fresh off a second-place finish in the long jump, where she went 17-6 3/4 -- just an inch off her personal-best set in winning last week's regional meet.

Like Miller, Thompson came up just short of qualifying for state a year ago and was pleased with how her day went.

"I was kind of nervous, never having been to state before. I didn't know what to expect," Thompson said. "I don't usually jump well at Pasco, either, but it turned out OK today."

Sunnyside senior Jordyne Jaquish finished third in the 3A girls long jump with a mark of 17-0, moving up from eighth after barely making the finals on her final prelim attempt.

"I made it a little hard on myself, but I pulled through when I had to," she said.