GIRLS TRACK SPOTLIGHT: SARAH MEDLAND

Tom Batters
Sarah Medland, the school record holder in the long jump, also competes in the 200-meter dash.

For Sarah Medland, the number 17 sometimes seemed like an unattainable, almost mythical figure that would require a giant leap to overcome.

She would eye Lisa Bolton’s school long jump record — 17 feet, 4 inches — and dream of reaching such heights herself, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not jump higher than 17 feet.

Then came that unforgettable day a couple weeks ago, when the number 17 didn’t seem so large after all.

Medland, a senior at Notre Dame, broke the school long jump record, accomplishing one of her big goals this season.

“I had never been in the 17’s before, so I was really excited to get that record,” Medland said. “It was just one of those jumps where everything went right.”

Medland is not done jumping and reaching once-unreachable heights. She said she is now setting her sights on the school triple jump record (35 feet, 3 inches), which has stood since 1998.

“The triple jump is actually my favorite event,” she said. “I would love to get that record, too.”

Medland is a well-rounded member of the Irish track team. When she is not jumping, she competes in the 200-meter dash and the 4X200 meter relay events.

“I like the relays a lot because of the teamwork involved,” she said. “I have great teammates, and we all like to compete.”

Reaching the state tournament is another big goal for Medland this season, but it won’t be easy.

Several of the top area competitors in long jump and high jump are back this year.

Bailey Jackson of Galesburg, who qualified in both events last year as a sophomore, is back. Medland finished second to Jackson in both events Friday at the ABC Meet of Champions in East Peoria.

“If I qualify for state, that would be a great accomplishment,” Medland said. “All I can do is work hard and give it my best shot, and we’ll see what happens.”

Medland, who also played basketball at Notre Dame, plans to attend St. Ambrose University next year. Her older sister, Rachel, who also played basketball and ran track at ND, is a freshman at St. Ambrose.

“I’m looking forward to being closer to her (Rachel). We’re pretty close,” Medland said. “She’s more outgoing, and I’m more shy, but we get along great.”