Rancocas Valley’s Kristina Tossas, the No. 11 seed going in, PR’d by more than a foot to win the Big Ten long jump title Friday evening.
Tossas, a Rutgers junior, entered the meet with a lifetime-best of 19-7 ½ from a meet last month at Clemson. But she popped a 20-9 ¼ on her first attempt and that stood up as the winning jump at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
That’s the No. 3 jump in Rutgers history and best since Williamstown’s Gabrielle Farquharson went 20-10 ¼ at the 2015 Big Ten Championships, also in Geneva. Oakcreset’s Shameka Marshall set the school record of 21-10 ¼ at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., so the top three long jumpers in Rutgers history are all from South Jersey.
After her 20-9 ¼, Tossas fouled and jumped 18-0 ¼ before a 20-2 ¼ on her first jump of the finals and after a 17-6 she closed with a 19-11 ½. She finished with the three-best jumps of her life.
Winslow’s Tionna Tobias jumped 20-0 ½ on her third attempt and it looked like a 1-2 South Jersey finish until Indiana’s Paola Fernandez-Sola jumped 20-6 ½ on her final attempt to take second. Still, that’s two 3rd-place finishes for Tobias, who also finished 3rd in the pentathlon.
Tossas’ 20-9 ¼ is No. 17 among U.S. women, pending other results Friday, and is the best jump by a Burlington County high school graduate since Carol Lewis went 23-1 in 1985. It’s No. 7 on the all-time South Jersey alumni list and best since Winslow’s Cidae’a Woods went 21-0 at the 2017 SEC Championships in Columbia, S.C.
Tossas, a 2020 R.V. graduate, had a high school-best of 18-7 ¾ at the 2019 outdoor state meet at Franklin High. Oddly, she was also the No. 11 seed that spring when she won the state Group 4 title.