Alexis Ellis wasn’t supposed to be the best jumper on her own team.
The Curtis High School freshman now has the best mark in the nation this season, according to DyeStat, beating Mountlake Terrace standout and two-time meet champion Chinne Okoronkwo at 42 feet, 41/4 inches at the Lake Washington Girls Invite on Saturday.
Ellis could barely hold in her emotions afterward, hugging almost every willing body.
“It’s just ... joy,” she said. “I didn’t think I would make it this far so soon.”
Ellis broke teammate Saudia James-Heard’s state freshman record of 40 feet, 31/4 inches set at the Pasco Invitational earlier this season. Ellis began the season at 35 feet.
Curtis coach Sarah Hannula said James-Heard stayed home to rest. But she called James-Heard’s father just after Ellis’ jump.
“(Ellis) is a competitor. She does not like to lose,” Hannula said. “She wanted to jump 41 (feet) so bad. She had it in her mind all day.”
Ellis’ teammate, Jennifer Power, walked with Ellis to the triple-jump scoreboard before the event started. She inserted “41-6” onto it, told Ellis to take a picture and then go beat it.
“I was like, ‘All right,’ ” said Ellis, who entered with the third-best mark in the state at 39-91/4 behind Okoronkwo and James-Heard. “And so I visualized it all day. I looked at the picture and I was like, ‘I’m going to jump it today.’ ”
Hannula guaranteed before the event that Ellis would hit 41-6 “at some point this season.”
Ellis hit a personal-record of 40-3 on her third-to-last jump, only to see it topped shortly after by Okoronkwo’s 40-61/2.
Then came Ellis’ nation-best mark of the season, passing Marie-Joseé Ebwea-Bile of Benjamin Cardozo (New York), who jumped a 42-11/4 at the Penn Relays in late April.
Okoronkwo scratched on her final jump, but she was the first to hug Ellis for her accomplishment. They and James-Heard are teammates on the Flying AJs club track and field team based in Federal Way.
“I knew (Ellis) could do it, but I didn’t think she was going to do it right now,” Flying AJs coach Nate Wilford said. “Her hop and her step are unbelievable. She just keeps improving by leaps and bounds.”
The state record is 42-101/4 set by Curtis graduate and former University of Kansas All-American Andrea Geubelle in 2009.
IN THE BLOCKS
Issaquah took the team title at the Lake Washington Girls Invite with 55 points. Shorecrest was second with 45 points and Skyline third with 37. Tahoma took seventh with 32 points and Curtis was ninth with 24. … Sumner’s Rhaven Dean won the javelin with a throw of 133 feet, 10 inches. ... Decatur’s Parris Watson won the discus (128-11) and took second in the shot put (39-81/2) behind Holy Names’ Aoife Martin. Enumclaw standout KC Moulden did not compete because she has been sick for the past week, coach Jenelle Murrell said.