When the high school track season gets under way next week, Summit Christian Academy’s Carlie Queen should be good to go.
Queen, a three-time state champion who will soon begin her senior season with the Eagles, capped her high-school indoor career March 10 by winning the girls high jump at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. Her winning leap of 5 feet, 10 ¾ inches is not only a personal best, it’s also the best indoor jump by a high school girl in the United States this season.
“It was a great way to end my high school indoor season,” Queen said. “I’ve never really jumped well indoors, honestly. I’ve always been hurt or something.”
Queen made the winning mark on her third attempt after barely missing on her first two. She sailed over 5-9 on her first attempt at that height, but so did two other jumpers in the prestigious indoor meet. That competition, Queen said, helped push her over the top.
“I knew I needed to make it to win,” Queen said. “So I just went out there for my last attempt and I knew I could do it, and I made it.”
Queen had an inkling she was in for a big day when she sailed over 5-9 with ease. It gave her the confidence to have a go at 6 feet, and she almost cleared that on her third attempt.
“I had my body all the way over it and I just nudged it on the way down,” Queen said. “It was right there.”
The jump at the New Balance meet marked the third time Queen had improved her indoor personal best. In January she won the Arkansas High School Invitational and broke a decade-old meet record. She smashed a 17-year-old meet record two weeks later at the Gorilla High School Classic at Pittsburg State with a 5-9 ¼ leap that moved her into the No. 1 ranking and earned her National Performer of the Week honors from MileSplit USA. In February, she finished second to the Australian junior champion at the Simplot Games at Idaho State.
But Queen said it was the New Balance meet that she was gunning for, especially after struggling there last year.
“I wanted to come back and win this,” Queen said. “This is the one that I’ve been training for, a really important one. It was really amazing to not only win this, but to get a new PR.”
Now Queen, who will compete next year for Arkansas, will be training for her final high school outdoor season and a shot at a fourth consecutive Class 2 girls title. She set the Class 2 state meet record with a 5-7 ¾ leap as a freshman, and this year she would like to break the all-class mark of 6-0 that has stood since 2000.
But there are bigger goals, too, such as a top-two finish at the USA Track and Field Juniors this summer, which could get her in the Pan-American Games.
“I really want to get that six-foot mark, that’s for sure,” Queen said. “This meet made me realize I could definitely not stop there; I can be a 6-1, 6-2 jumper. Really my goal is just to push that mark as high as I can.”