An outstanding high school track and field career came to a close on Friday, June 5 for Manchester High School senior Tess Burns and it came to a close on a big stage as Burns competed for the second time in three years in the High Jump event at Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track Meet, held at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
Burns made this last trip a memorable one as she finished second in the state of Ohio in Division III in the High Jump and in the process broke her own school record in the event, not once, but twice.
Sixteen competitors lined up last Friday for the Division III High Jump and the competition was started with the bar at 4’10’ and each competitor cleared that mark. From that point, the bar was moved up to 5’0”, where one jumper left the field. At 5’2”, Burns cleared on her first attempt but two other jumpers were eliminated.
The tension began to build as the bar was moved to 5’4” and Burns again was money on her first jump, but seven other girls weren’t so fortunate, leaving six jumpers remaining as the bar was raised to 5’5”, the mark that Burns had hit for a school record in the regional meet.
“I was getting a little nervous at 5’4” when there were so many girls left,” said Burns in an interview with The Defender on Tuesday morning.
“I cleared 5’5” on my first jump but at 5’6” I missed all the way until my third and final try and then I made it.” That success at 5’6” set a new Manchester school record, but it wouldn’t stand for long.
Now the pressure mounted as only three girls were left, Burns, Brooke Mangas from Ottoville, and Aleah Bailey from Margaretta. Mangas cleared 5’7” on her first attempt and Bailey dropped out after missing her three attempts. Burns did not clear the bar on her first attempt, but with Coach Dustin Cook’s advice of “explode up” fresh in her mind, she made it over on her second try to break the school record once again and set up a final battle for the state title with Mangas.
“I was pretty pumped up by this point, but also getting a little bit tired because I had jumped 10 times,” said Burns. “But when I cleared 5’7”, I was so excited that I wanted to do a back flip but that might have been a little dangerous.”
With the bar at 5’8”, Mangas missed her first attempt, but cleared her second while Burns was unsuccessful in each of her first two tries, leaving her one final opportunity to stay in the competition.
“I didn’t know what to do, I was pretty nervous,”said Burns. Unfortunately, Burns could not make it over the bar on her third attempt at 5’8”, giving the state crown to Mangas and a runner-up finish to the young lady from Adams County, who had finished fifth in the state two springs ago.
“It was an exciting experience but it was also a bit nerve-wracking because everyone wanted me to do well,” added Burns. “The competition was so much tougher than two years ago and the winner was just a sophomore.”
Burns’ career will now continue in the fall at Morehead State University where she will be a cross-country runner and then run the 400 meters, the 800 meters, and high jump for the Golden Eagles track and field squad.