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Girls track: Andover’s Jaylyn Agnew wins third high jump title

Published May 30 at 9:06 p.m. | Last updated June 2 at 8:12 a.m.

Jaylyn Agnew secured her third straight Class 5A high jump championship on Friday at Cessna Stadium, remaining unbeaten in 23 high jump competitions in her three years at Andover with a winning jump of 5-foot-4.

The fact that it is the lowest winning mark during that streak was disappointing for Agnew.

But the conditions in which she conquered the event is what left Andover coach Mike Lee calling it the most impressive state title of the three.

“She just keeps doing it,” Lee said. “She just keeps amazing people.”

The situation developed at last week’s regional meet. Agnew decided to pursue a state berth in the 200 meters in an attempt to score team points, despite its qualifying heats coinciding with the high jump competition at state.

“So not only was she going to have to be a three-timer,” Lee said, “but she was going to have to run that 200, too. The pressure was incredible.”

After jumping twice and clearing 5 feet, Agnew took off for the other end of the track for her 200 race. She qualified for the 5A finals, running a personal-best time of 25.98 seconds.

But exerting that much effort under a blaring sun took a toll.

“I didn’t think I was going to have that much trouble, but I ended up being really tired,” Agnew said. “I was drained after that. My legs felt heavy.”

“You could tell when she came back over and warmed up that she was drained,” her father Jay Agnew said.

Less than 10 minutes after completing the sprint, Agnew cleared 5-2 in the high jump. That’s a mark she has cleared in every meet in her career, but was still physically demanding for an exhausted Agnew.

She not only passed that test, but also cleared 5-4 on her first attempt, which gave her the immediate tiebreaker over the Hays’ combo of Haley George and Wendy Zimmerman.

Agnew entered the meet knowing that it was unrealistic to expect herself to chase the 5A meet record of 5-11, as she did the past two years. Maybe next year. This year, this title, was about just winning.

“I think there was the most pressure with this one because this was the one where I’m either going to be able to try the four-peat or I’m going to lose it,” Agnew said. “There was a lot of pressure. I’ve been a little nervous.”

“It was as good of performance as I’ve seen from an athlete gutting it out and just getting it done,” Lee said. “To me, it’s her most impressive high jump performance.”

The third title also held personal incentive, as it would be one more state title than her father won in high school during his football career at East.

“I guess I’m considered the best athlete in my family now,” Jaylyn said, beaming. “My dad always talks about his East days and how they were state champs. So now I guess I can talk about mine.”

And as far as his ego? Jay Agnew says not to worry.

“I knew she was a better all-around athlete than I was back when she was in seventh grade,” Jay Agnew said. “I just used that as a little ploy to challenge her.

“I’m just super proud of her right now.”