breaking news
  • Senior prom is Saturday, April 13 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Student spotlight: Apria Smith leaps over school records

Smith+won+regionals+at+South+Lakes+High+School+with+a+distance+of+39+feet+and+9+inches+setting+a+new+school+record+on+May+24.
Photo used with the permission of Phil Dolinger.
Smith won regionals at South Lakes High School with a distance of 39 feet and 9 inches setting a new school record on May 24.

As freshman Apria Smith approaches the line, she takes her three strides and jumps. Her body soars through the air, passing 10 feet, then 20, then 30, until her feet land at 39 feet and 7 inches. She rushes off the sand, anxious for the results. Before she can comprehend the news, everyone is on their feet cheering. Smith has broken the school record, finishing first in the region for triple jump. 

Smith participates in multiple events within track and field, one of which is triple jump. This event consists of three consecutive jumps either left-left-right or right-right-left, starting between 24 to 40 feet from the sand, and aiming to land in the sand. World Athletics underlines the importance of speed, explosive power, strength and flexibility needed for the triple jump.  

“My favorite way to describe triple jump is competitive hopscotch,” track and field coach Samuel Fitzhugh said. 

 Before last year, Smith had only one sport in mind: soccer. She never thought to try out for track until countless people noticed her speed and agility. Each of them encouraged her relentlessly to participate in track.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’d never done anything track-related before then,” Smith said. “It wasn’t what I pictured myself doing, yet I ended up exceeding my expectations and breaking the school record multiple times.”

Fitzhugh, who is the jumps coach for spring and winter track, helped Smith learn the basics of both the triple and high jump. Fitzhugh has been a supporter of Smith since she started participating in track, and has helped her improve.

“Apria improved a ton over the course of the year, about 7 feet in the triple jump, a foot and a half in the long jump, and four inches in the high jump from winter to spring,” Fitzhugh said.

According to MIT press, track is a mentally challenging sport in which players may face mental blocks. The athlete is constantly trying to improve and beat their past time, distance or height. While it is important for Smith to focus on her technique and coordination, the NCAA places emphasis on how it is also important that athletes like Smith continue to focus on their mental health to ensure they can achieve their goals.

Smith starts her 100m run at regionals on May 24. Smith placed first in prelims, but did not move on to finals. (Photo used with the permission of Phil Dolinger.)

“To guarantee that I am mentally prepared for meets, I make sure that I have a good amount of sleep the night before, and I have eaten a nutritious meal,” Smith said. “I also like to listen to music before meets to distract myself from the nerves. However, when I prepare at the start line, I find myself asking the question ‘How fast is everyone else?’ which is definitely something I need to work on not doing this year.”

Throughout the last track and field season, Smith set and broke multiple records in triple jump. This led to Smith winning regionals for triple jump and carrying the school’s name to states where she placed third. 

“Considering I improved so much last season, my obvious goal is to break the school record yet again,” Smith said. “I also hope to make it to states again and possibly place for a second year.”

Smith has high expectations for herself, but also encourages her teammates to achieve their best.

“Every day at practice she makes me laugh, but when she needs to focus to do a drill or practice a new skill, she concentrates on the task at hand,” teammate and junior Neha Baskar said. “She’s a really good teammate because she’s fun to be around, but also motivates others to do their best.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Purple Tide
$520
$600
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Chantilly High School. Your contribution will allow us to cover our printing and annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Gabby Roper, Staff Writer
Gabby is a freshman in her first year with The Purple Tide. She spends the majority of her free time pursuing her love for the sport of volleyball. Gabby enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and watching baseball.
Donate to The Purple Tide
$520
$600
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Purple Tide Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *