Andes' Coss high-jump champ in Tri-Valley League competiton

By John Bernhardt
It was an unexpected force, like letting the genie out of the bottle. Shianne Coss had never attempted a track and field high jump until just three weeks ago. Coss, who competes on the Andes Central School track team, had only one practice in an actual high jump pit, an afternoon spent at SUNY Delhi learning to actually launch herself over the bar. The Andes junior has tried her hand at her new pursuit in competition just two times. Yet, Thursday afternoon at the Tri-Valley League track and field championships, it was Coss wearing the championship gold.

Can really leap
Anyone who has watched Coss play basketball might not be surprised to hear she is a high jump champion. Lean and athletic, Coss would launch her frame high off the hardwoods to pull down rebounds off the backboard. Even so, it is more than remarkable that with almost no technical preparation, Coss would be crowned Andes’ first ever Tri-Valley League champion.

“It’s simply amazing,” said Andes track coach Jeff Rhone. “Some of the kids Shianne competed against have been working for three or four years, perfecting their technique as they tried to attain that goal. Shianne did it in three weeks.”

Rhone hopes Coss’ sudden success will light a fire in his athletic junior. “I was like, Shianne, do you realize what you just accomplished? Do you realize what this means? If you get serious about your training and preparation who knows what you could do with the high jump.”

A new game
Track and field is a relatively new athletic activity in Andes. The school lacks the landing mats required in constructing a high jump pit. Preparing for meets, Rhone worked with Coss in the gymnasium on her approach run, finishing by jumping high to the basket. Like every member of the team, strategic strength training was also a part of her preparation.

Coss’ winning jump reached four feet, six inches on Thursday. In a high jump event, each participant gets three attempts to clear a specified height. The bar starts at a height that is fairly easy for most jumpers to clear. After all the attempts have been completed, the bar is raised two inches and the process repeats itself all over again.

As the bar continued to climb higher, one by one, jumpers fell out of the competition. Eventually, only two girls remained, Coss and Sarah Haight from Davenport.

The girls continued to battle with both soaring above the bar at four feet, six inches. Neither competitor could manage a clean attempt at four feet, eight inches. In the case of a tie, the officials review the meet records. If one jumper reached the winning height before another, after a completed round, that competitor is ruled the winner. Coss cleared four feet, six inches in her second trial. Haight soared over the bar at the same height in her third.

Coss and Haight will square off again this afternoon in the Class D sectional qualifying meet. Girls who have cleared five feet earn automatic berths in the sectional championship held in Vestal on May 30. The top two jumpers just below that mark will also compete at the sectional meet.