It’s safe to say that Dacia Gramlick got the jump on most of her peers Saturday morning.
While most high school students were still sleeping, Gramlick raised eyebrows with a golden performance in the junior girls’ long jump at the provincial high school track and field championships in Calgary.
Her 9 a.m. event opened the second day of the two-day meet at Foothills Athletic Park, but the early start didn’t deter the Stettler jumper in her quest for gold.
“I was at the track around 7 or 7:30,” said Gramlick, a Grade 10 student from William E. Hay Composite High School.
“We went up (to Calgary) the day before. It helped a lot, because I didn’t feel lazy from being stuck in the car that morning.”
Gramlick was a decisive winner with her jump of 5.43 metres — a personal best.
“I was second going into my last jump, and then I came out with a really great jump, one of my best jumps yet,” said Gramlick, whose previous best was 5.23 metres.
“It was a major jump.”
In doing so, Gramlick beat central zone champion Mackenzie Ramsell, the Innisfail student who edged Gramlick in record fashion a week earlier at the zone meet in Stettler.
Ramsell, who jumped 5.33 at the central Alberta zone championships, managed a 5.27 jump Saturday.
“She was happy for me,” said Gramlick, 16. “She said, ‘Good jump.” We congratulated each other. Tough competition.”
The bronze-medallist, Sandy Latrace of Duchess, jumped 5.12 metres.
In 2010, Niki Oudenaarden set the provincial junior girls’ long-jump record of 5.75 metres.
Gramlick left the track without any regrets Saturday.
“For that last jump, I told myself, ‘This is my last jump, I’ve just got to give it my all,’ ” she said. “And that’s what happened.”
She imagined coach Anthony Jones was with her Saturday in Calgary.
“I tried to get Mr. Jones’ voice in my head near the end and it helped a lot to get a better distance, because just hearing his coaching skills in my mind, it motivates me and focuses me more to just do my best.
“He told me that to go hard when I’m running, to pump my legs. And then also when I jump, to lift my knee and just keep it up there as long as I can.”
Soon after, Gramlick stepped up onto the medal podium to receive her gold medal — and a champion T-shirt — from the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association.
“It was such a great feeling,” she said. “It felt so professional, actually, because I hadn’t really been in that much of a situation before.”
Her family members were trackside Saturday to witness Gramlick’s heroics. She thanked them — and coaches Jones and Luke Peters — for their support.
Gramlick made the most of her lone event at the provincials. She might have qualified for other events, but had to leave the zone meet early because it conflicted with the music provincials in Edmonton.
After her golden long jump on the provincial stage, Gramlick is considering more involvement in track and field.
“It definitely changes things,” she said. “I want to work on it more, just to see if it can take me that much farther, with any other events or this event, too.
“To be able to work on it longer would just help me more. So that’s what I hope to do.”
Gramlick and Grade 11 sprinter Braden Deagle — Stettler’s only other participant in the provincial meet — met with coach Jones after school Monday to discuss their track future.
Gramlick said after that meeting that she intends to join the Red Deer Titans track club, with which Jones is a sprint coach.
Gramlick played varsity basketball this winter with William E. Hay. She plans to attend Camp Teckla in July to develop her basketball skills.
Along with high school exams this month, she performs a singing exam within a couple of weeks.
“We sing what we did in the local musical festival, and they mark us on that,” said Gramlick, a member of Gracenotes Choir of Stettler.