Even with several appearances on the podium under her belt, there will be a new wrinkle to Juliet Menolascino’s appearance at the 4A state championship meet in two weeks.
The long jump.
Menolascino has split her track meets between the triple jump pit and the hurdles for the past two years, but this year she decided to take a stab at long jump, an event she gave up after her freshman year.
She entered the long jump earlier this season in a meet at Evanston, launched 17 feet, 7.75 inches to set the school record and prequalify for the state meet in a third event.
“In my freshman year I was like, ‘Well, I’m not very good at it, I don’t love it,’” she said of the long jump. “I just stuck with triple, only to find out my senior year I’m really good at long.”
Something of a breakout year for the senior has been made possible in part by the work she put in over the winter. With Jackson Hole High School having no indoor track team, she competed for Star Valley through the indoor season. As weird as it was to suit up for a rival school, it gave her a head start on the outdoor campaign that always feels like it ends as soon as it starts.
“It’s definitely a different vibe than Jackson for sure, but everyone was great,” she said. “Since track is such a short season, you feel like you peak right as the season is over. It makes it nice, at least for my hurdles, to have an idea of where you’re at. You don’t have to start from the very beginning in the outdoor season.”
She placed second in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump in the Broncs’ home meet Saturday after working through a number of scratches in both events. Now, she’ll turn her attention to regionals, where she’ll look to qualify for states in the 300 meter hurdles, the only one of her four events she has not hit a prequalifying mark in.
“It’s her reaping the rewards of her hard work,” head coach Bill Wiley said. “She put in a lot of time running for Star Valley in the indoor season, and she’s just really in a good place mentally, physically; she’s just right where she needs to be to do some big things the next couple of weeks.”
As far as goals for the state meet, it’s all about hitting the podium again for Menolascino.
“I think that just being on the podiums is an honor, but my goal is never to be the best,” she said, “it’s always just to be better than I was last time.”
Jackson won its four-team meet Saturday on the strength of a handful of standout performances. The Broncs scored 189 points to edge Pinedale’s 170.5 for the win. Teton (Idaho) finished third with 156 and Star Valley fourth with 81.5.
Outside Menolascino, sprinter Carey Ritter carried three victories for the Broncs. She took the 100 in 13.29, the 200 in 27.25 and the 400 in 1:02.87.
Katharine Brigham doubled with wins in the 800 (2:29.06) and the 1,600 (5:28.18). Jackson swept the top four spots in the 1,600, with Sienna Taylor, Parker Smith and Andie Cornish following Brigham.
Next for the Broncs is the regional meet in Evanston on Friday and Saturday. Athletes qualify for the state meet either by hitting a prequalifying time or mark, or by placing in the top eight at regionals.