Renter's long, triple jumps land gold
by Nathan Arneal
So much for the theory that experience matters.
After competing in the long jump for the fourth time in her entire career, Samantha Renter was crowned state champion in the event.
The next day, she won the triple jump and placed fourth in the high jump. Was this her wildest dream playing out?
“I’ve had some pretty wild dreams before,” Renter said, “but not like this.”
Renter’s two gold medals triple the total in North Bend girls history. She joins Becky Kucera, who won the 1972 shot put, as NBC’s only individual state champions.
Her long jump medal came as a surprise to virtually everyone. Renter entered the event seeded 11th, jumping in the second flight while the top jumpers competed in the third flight.
Every jump Renter took in the preliminaries was a personal best. After jumps of 16-2.5 and 16-3, she busted out a 16-10.25, which was the best among the second-flight jumpers.
Knowing that mark should be good enough make finals and place, coach Dan Watts ran up to watch the discus while the third flight jumped. When he returned, assistant coach Jeff Voss told him no one was jumping really well and Renter still led after the third flight. Renter, who wasn’t paying attention to the third flight, found out she was leading the event the same time the rest of the stadium did.
“I didn’t realize I was in first until they called my name for finals,” she said. “Then they said it over the loudspeaker and I was like ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
As the finals progressed, jumper after jumper failed to catch her. Renter’s last jump measured 16-7, the second farthest jump of the day. Her 16-10.25 held up to win first by four inches. It took a while for it to sink in.
“She was walking towards us,” Watts said, “and didn’t smile until she was 10 feet away because she wasn’t quite sure it happened. (An individual champion) is something I’ve been trying to get for 30 years, and here one comes clear out of the blue.”
However, Renter wasn’t satisfied. She said the long jump win almost felt like an accident. Her main objective of the weekend still loomed ahead on Saturday.
“The long jump feels like beginner’s luck,” she said. “The triple jump is my event, the one I wanted.”
Renter, who placed fourth in the triple jump last year with all seniors in front of her, said winning the long jump just put more pressure on her to do well in the triple jump.
Her first attempt in the triple jump measured 33-11.5, putting her in seventh place. Her second jump didn’t feel any better.
“It was one of those where you look back and think it was like a 30-footer,” Renter said, “but then when they said (the measurement), my eyes got so big and I was like ‘No way.’”
The official distance of 35-7.75 vaulted her into first place and broke her own school record by 1.75 inches. After no one bettered the mark, another gold medal, the one she really wanted, was hers.
But her day wasn’t over. Up next was the high jump, where she cleared 5-2 and placed fourth.
“After triple jump we didn’t know if she would have any legs left,” Watts said, “but she had good speed, good height and gets 5-2. That was awfully good, awfully good. I’m really happy for her.”
Renter ended her meet by running the opening leg of the 1600-meter relay, which finished in 10th place, just three seconds from another medal.
At the end of the day, Watts could only shake his head when contemplating Renter’s historical performance.
“I thought her district was outstanding,” he said, “but that pales compared to this.”
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