With one last shot at something big for her high school career, Megan Kirschling went out and claimed her spot among the best in the county, winning her second straight All-American designation with a bronze at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, NC, Saturday afternoon.
It was the senior's second straight third-place finish at a major meet, after .
“I'm happier with this one,” Kirschling said of the third at nationals. “It was a good jumping day.”
Though she was sporting a bit of a new look—gone was the West Deptford green, replaced with a blue-and-black top, and her trademark ponytail had been chopped off—it was nonetheless vintage Kirschling.
She was one of four jumpers perfect through the first three heights, then—in a bit of déjà vu from the Meet of Champions—missed twice at 5-8.5 before clearing the height and giving herself a chance at 5-10.5.
While she was the closest of the three left at that height—the other two smacked the bar off on the way up—Kirschling couldn’t quite summon up the same magic that gave her the state Group 2 record just two weeks ago, and had to settle for third on misses.
“She was that close to winning it again,” coach Mark Drummond said.
In near-ideal conditions, Kirschling got not only the chance to jump against some of her top competition, but she also got a chance to perform in front of her college coaching staff, who had only been able to see her in video previously.
And in some ways, it was a preview of what Kirschling can expect to experience in her college career, as music thumped across the stadium’s sound system and crowds cheered on the dozens of races during the day.
It was that much more important to get focused, visualize the jump and get herself into the zone before each attempt, Kirschling said.
"That's where you have to get to," she said.
It also gave her some insight into what she needs to do in the future, as well.
“Today was more of just trying to get consistent and realize you can't have those little misses,” Kirschling said.
Still, getting to finish out her high school career as an All-American and the bronze medalist made it a special moment.
“You couldn't have asked for anything better,” Kirschling said.
Notes: Dakota Dailey-Harris, the Rhode Island state record holder, won the event with no misses before 5-10.5. Kirschling wasn’t the only New Jersey jumper to do well on the day—Robbinsville’s Noel Jancewicz was fifth after failing to clear 5-8.5.