Buena Regional High School hasn’t always been kind to Megan Kirschling.
A year ago as a junior, the West Deptford high jumper was heavily favored to win her signature event at the sectional meet at Buena, but only cleared 5-4 to finish second.
This year, that all changed.
Kirschling leaped 5-8 and just barely missed at 5-10, winning the South Jersey, Group 2 high jump title and setting a new meet record in the process.
The win was the senior’s first real challenge in weeks—Kirschling’s been lapping the field in the event of late, winning the Gloucester County title at just 5-0 and beating her closest competitors by nearly a full foot at the Carl Lewis Relays earlier in the week.
“It’s good to have to jump high,” head coach Mark Drummond said.
And she’ll have to keep jumping high—while Kirschling’s leap was the best among all Group 2 jumpers in the state, there are a handful who are close and should push the senior at states.
It was almost a two-for-one day for Kirschling, but she had to settle for second place by 0.05 seconds to Buena’s Helena Leyrer in the 100 hurdles. Kirschling clocked a 14.73 in the finals, which would’ve shattered the old meet record by itself, but Leyrer was across the line in 14.68 for gold.
“The time she ran was amazing,” Drummond said.
And a day after winning the 1,600 title, senior Samantha Budd made it a double with the 800 championship. Budd held off Haddonfield’s Carly Bonnet in the heat and humidity, clocking a 2:20.61, a few seconds slower than what she had been aiming for.
“The heat kind of messed up our plans as far as time,” Drummond said. “At this point, you want the win.”
The weather was also likely a factor in a slow 3,200, where Megan Knoblock was able to punch her ticket for states with a sixth-place finish.
The Eagles got one other bid to states, after the 4x400 relay team finished fourth in 4:09.97.
All totaled, it was a third-place finish for the West Deptford girls overall, with only Haddonfield and Buena ahead of the Eagles.
“I’m pleased—they did a great job all season long,” Drummond said.
The day wasn’t quite so kind to the boys, as they advanced just the 4x400 relay team, which ran a 3:30.04, on to states.
Several athletes came agonizingly close—Nick Pulli was seventh in the discus, Sean Weidler was seventh in the pole vault, Shai Mumford was eighth in the 200 and Leo Impagliazzo was 10th in the 800.