When the long jump ended at Easterns Tuesday night, Tionna Tobias sat at the start of the runway looking disappointed while a friend from Timber Creek’s track team consoled her.
Then the results were distributed. Turns out Tobias had nothing to be disappointed about.
Tobias, a freshman competing in the long jump for only the second time as a high schooler, had placed third with an 18-9 jump – the best jump ever indoors by a New Jersey freshman and overall No. 5 in South Jersey history!
According to the MileSplit data base, Tobias had only long jumped once previously this year — she went 16-8 for fifth at the Bishop Laughlin Games in December at the 168th Street Armory.
Because the New Jersey state meet series doesn’t have a long jump, that was it until Easterns, also at the Armory.
And Tobias blew up.
She PR’d at 17-6 1/2 with her first jump, extended that to 18-1 on her second and then bombed her 18-9 on her final jump of the trials. She then went 17-3 1/2, 18-3 and 18-2 3/4 on her three jumps in the finals.
So she got six legal jumps and averaged 18-2 3/4 on those six jumps.
The previous state freshman record indoors was 18-0 1/4, set in 2001 by Collette DeBenedetto of Mountain Lakes. Outdoors it’s 20-5, set in 1981 by Olympian Carol Lewis of Willingboro.
Tobias is also the No. 1 freshman in the U.S. so far, nearly four inches ahead of Nyla Ward of T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, Va., who jumped 18-5 1/4 at the Virginia High School Group 6A State Indoor Championships at the Boo Williams Complex in Hampton, Va., last weekend.
Here is the updated all-time South Jersey indoor list:
- 21-7 1/2 … Carol Lewis [Willingboro], 1981
- 19-8 ……. Cidae’a Woods [Winslow], 2014
- 19-7 1/2 … Helen Wilks [Bridgeton], 1993
- 18-9 …….. Shameka Speed [Bridgeton], 2002
- 18-9 …….. Tionna Tobias [Winslow], 2016
- 18-8 3/4 … Artrelia Turner [Wilson], 1984
- 18-7 1/4 … Shelly Bailey [Woodbury], 1982
- 18-6 1/2 … Tisifinee Taylor [Woodbury], 2002
- 18-6 1/2 … Asia Young [Holy Spirit], 2016
- 18-5 3/4 … Lindsey Walsh [Lenape], 2008
- 18-5 1/4 … Tacquaya Tobias [Our Lady of Mercy], 2011
- 18-4 3/4 … Tonya Lee [Rancocas Valley], 1988
- 18-4 1/2 … Kristin Tricocci [Cinnaminson], 2004
- 18-2 3/4 … Sable Loper [Woodrow Wilson], 2005
- 18-1 3/4 … Emily Carson [Haddonfield], 2013
Tobias moved pretty far up the all-time state list, as well — No. 21 overall.
Tobias isn’t just a long jumper. She placed in two events at sectionals, taking fourth in the 55-meter dash in 7.56 and fifth in the high jump at 5-0. Winslow won the team title 75-67 over Delsea.
She also ran a leg on Winslow’s 800-meter relay team at Easterns. That group, which also included Brittany Preston, Flora Ahiarakwe and Iyianna Williams, ran 1:43.85 in the trials and 1:43.01 in the finals.
That’s No. 2 in New Jersey this year and No. 1 among South Jersey schools.
The discerning reader will notice that there is another Tobias on the all-time South Jersey list. That’s Tacquaya Tobias, a multiple state champion at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Newfield and Tiona’s older sister. She was a 19-9 jumper for Duquesne.
Here’s a nice story by Mike McGarry of the Atlantic City Press on the Tobias family, including Greg, who is the middle child and ran track and played football for St. Augustine – OLMA’s sister school – before attending Syracuse: Click here. Their parents, Gregory and Rosalind Tobias, founded the Omega Track Club to help young athletes in the South Jersey area excel in track and field.