Jumping is an artform.
When it comes to playing sports, the ability to get off one's feet and into the air is important. It doesn't matter if an athlete is trying to sky for a rebound, rob a homerun or set a new long jump record jumping is key.
For some athletes it comes naturally. Others may need to learn the proper techniques in order to maximize their hang time. Fortunately for the Lehighton track team, it has three young ladies who know how to fly through the air pretty well.
Seniors Vanessa Rimbey and Auriel George, along with new-comer Abby Frey, figure to be three of the best jumpers in the TIMES NEWS area. While each of these ladies will be strong in other events as well, all three have aspirations for leaping 18-feet in the long jump. Still, they know it can't be done without the proper knowledge.
"There is so much that goes into a jump," said Rimbey, who won gold in the long jump at both the MVC and District 11 meets. "You have to have the right speed. You have to hold your form through the air. You have to land properly. There are a lot of things to think about.
"I think talent and technique go hand-in-hand. If you don't have the right technique, you aren't going to have the talent to do well. If you don't have the talent, you aren't going to be able to learn the right techniques. Pure athleticism can only take you so far."
George, who finished fourth in the long jump at the MVC meet and ninth at states, agreed with Rimbey's assessment.
"Form is really important," said George. "It's probably the number one thing.
"You have to be able to drive your leg up in the air and stay straight. Then once you are in the air, you have to know how to swing your arms over to have the right form. You can't just forget about those things when you hit the board and are about to take off."
Frey hasn't ran track since the eighth grade due to an ACL tear she suffered when playing field hockey as a freshman. Regardless, the speedster figures to compete in a wide range of events. She has been preparing for events such as the 100M, 200M, 400M, 4x1 Relay, 4x4 Relay, 100 hurdles as well as the long jump. While she does not know exactly which events she will be doing on a given day, she will be ready for all of them.
"It's been a lot of getting in shape," Frey said. "I did indoor track over the winter and have been trying to get back into the swing of things.
"I haven't done the long jump since I was like seven years old, but since I have gotten back into it my jumps have been getting better. I am hoping for a high-18, low-19 jump at some point this year."
All three have become pretty good friends throughout the years. They agreed that working with each other has only made them better.
"Usually when you are competing against other good girls, they are at a different schools," Rimbey said. "Here we have a lot of talented girls who all go to the same school. I think it helps us all out."
"We all push each other to get better," added George. "Vanessa pushes me. I saw one of her jumps last year and it made me want to get better myself. And now with Abby in the mix, it only helps that much more."
As a junior last year, Rimbey stormed onto the scene and made a name for herself very quickly. There were a handful of meets in which she won all four events she participated in (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and high jump). At MVCs last year, she took gold in both the 100 hurdles and the long jump. She also won silvers in the 300 hurdles and the high jump. Rimbey then went on to win three golds at districts (100 hurdles, high jump and long jump).
However, Rimbey did not fair too well in states and failed to bring home a medal. It is something she still thinks about to this day.
"It is definitely motivating me," said Rimbey. "It's left a sour taste in my mouth. It was devastating. It is something that I keep thinking about.
"Now I try and look at it like last year was last year. This year I have bigger goals, like bringing home a state medal."