For Westminster's Bright, jump is a leaping success

Runer-turned-high jumper leads Owls to Carroll title

Indoor track and field

High Schools

January 10, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Just two weeks ago, Westminster sophomore Julie Bright, a distance runner by trade, first tried the high jump on a whim.

It was a move that now has the Owls coaching staff jumping for joy.

For the second time in three meets, Bright won her newfound event, clearing 5 feet last night to win the Carroll Indoor Invitational at the Carroll Indoor Sports Center, helping propel her team to a first-place finish.

Westminster finished with 146 points, followed by North Carroll (105) and North County (37).

On the boys side, Westminster's Dominique Cook had a meet to remember, winning the 300 and 500, and running legs on the winning 720 relay and runner-up 1,600 relay teams.

His performance, along with that of teammate Andy Hayes, who scored winsin the 1,600 and 3,200, helped lead the Owls to a first-place finish in the seven-team field. Westminster finished with 191 points, followed by South Carroll (52)and North County (46). Bright, who ranks in the middle of the pack among Westminster's 800-meter runners, appears to have a future in the event reminiscent of her last name.

Assistant coach Wade Shank brought up the notion to her of trying the event one day during practice.

"I said, `If you're interested, you should try it.' I asked her which leg she took off from and told her where to stand," said Shank.

Bright, whose interest in the event stemmed partly from her background in gymnastics, cleared 4 feet 8 in her first meet, and has won her past two meets by clearing 5-0.

She said she's surprised herself "a lot" so far. "I never thought I'd do this well."

The meet, run on a makeshift track bordering the inside wall of an indoor soccer field, served as a good early-season warm-up for most of the teams involved.

"We use this as a gauge to help us out for later on, and I'm really going to benefit from it," said Cook.

Cook is trying to shoulder more of the Owls' load this season after the graduation of standouts Jesse O'Connell and Jared Craig.

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