Cavalier one jump from title

Published 10:55 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

Nansemond River’s Ricky Blake takes off for a triple jump attempt during Friday’s action at the VHSL Group AAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.

HAMPTON — It would be the highlight of a career for most track and field athletes to reach No. 2 in the state in an event.

Lakeland junior Anaquan Peterson suffered a heartbreaking blow to come in second in the state in the triple jump during the first day of the VHSL (Virginia High School League) Group AAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Even just a few minutes after what he called “a defeat” but should hardly be labeled as such, he knew state runner-up was a sign of the progress he’s made over the past year and is a motivator for the future.

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“It will definitely make me hungrier. I know I’m going to work that much harder and now I want it even more,” Peterson said.

Any second-place finish is a little bittersweet but the sequence of how the triple jump competition played out added to Peterson’s mix of disappointment and accomplishment.

In the preliminary round, Peterson, with the third-best mark in the state coming into the day, crushed his personal best mark with his second attempt, jumping 48-feet-7.5.

Peterson jumped 46-feet-11.5 with his first attempt and his previous best was 47-feet-0.

When Peterson’s second mark was announced to the large crowd around the triple jump runway at the Boo Williams Sportsplex, it drew plenty of applause from the fellow athletes and coaches.

“I’m happy getting 48-feet. It’ll move my national rank up. It’ll push me to keep working,” Peterson said.

Peterson held the lead going into the finals, with each jumper advancing into the finals getting three more attempts.

Peterson got to jump last in each round and, still holding first place, elected to pass on his first two jumps.

First Colonial senior Allen Bordley, the top seed coming into the meet with a season-best of 48-feet-0, was the last competitor taking his third shot at Peterson’s mark. Bordley put down a jump of 49-feet-4.5 to swipe the lead away at the figurative buzzer.

After not jumping since the prelims, but doing his best to stay loose on the track for the previous 20-25 minutes, Peterson now had one attempt to regain the lead and it came up short.

“I was a little nervous,” Peterson said about the few seconds he had between Bordley’s big jump and trying his last jump.

“I’ve been improving every weekend. I felt I could get it. I felt good about it,” he said. Peterson improved from 15th in the state a year ago.

“It’s like I had this steak right in front of me, two inches away, and then it was taken out of my reach,” Peterson said, “but it’s OK, because I’ll come back hungrier.”