Madissyn Moore propped her hands on her knees, stared at the ground and tried desperately to find the silver lining to a disappointing silver medal in the long jump.
“You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes? That’s kind of how it was,” the recent Palmer Ridge graduate said of her thoughts in that moment of solitude. “Tiny flashes of major moments in my life. That’s what went through my head. I kind of had to block it out because if you think about it too long you’re just going to freak out.”
Moore was crushed by scratches on her final jump in the prelims and again on the final jump in the finals – her last jump in high school before she goes to Dakota State to compete in multiple events and study new media.
But there was so much more to this disappointment. As a sophomore, Moore had the top qualifying time entering the state meet but then failed to make the finals, saying: “I got in my head and I messed up.”
As a junior she felt her jumps and sprints were in line for a strong season, but COVID-19 wiped out everything in mid-March and canceled the state meet.
Outside of track, Moore is dealing with a hip injury that will require surgery later this summer and a home situation that no one would wish on a high school senior. With Moore’s grandmother in Wisconsin battling Alzheimer’s, her mother left for several months to care for her. That left Moore to care for three younger siblings with help from an older brother and sister who returned to the home.
She took her siblings to school and made sure chores were finished.
“I guess I was kind of the mom of the house,” she said.
So, there she was, on the runway, ready for the fairy tale farewell to this horror story. But she couldn’t escape her own thoughts. On her approach she began counting steps, then her mind wandered to what she would do on takeoff, as she planned to focus on jumping up and holding. When her thoughts turned back to the counting she had lost her place and was beyond the point of recovery. She scratched and the jump didn’t count.
An earlier mark of 17-foot-9 during prelims and she raced to finish in time for a sprint event was good enough for second place behind Mullen’s Aguar Dowl’s 18-11.25, but Moore had wanted to pop 19 feet at this meet.
She thought about all that and found a way out of the darkness. She reflected on her coaches, whom she credits for her success. She was grateful for the opportunity to be here competing after learning first-hand that nothing is promised. She knows more track and field awaits her in the future in college and here at the state meet, where she's part of the two relay teams.
Hundreds of athletes will perform at the state meet and only a tiny fraction will capture gold. The rest take what they will from the experience.
Moore, reluctantly, knew that was what she had to do. Another lesson in a year of so that has brought them in unrelenting succession.
“I’m definitely upset because I have more potential,” she said. “There was way more that I could have given on the runway. But I’m blessed to be here. Overall, looking back, I’m proud to just make second.”