Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Piaa Track & Field Championship Hempfield Junior Golden in Long Jump Holmberg Surpasses 20 Feet for AAA Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Piaa Track & Field Championship Hempfield Junior Golden in Long Jump Holmberg Surpasses 20 Feet for AAA Title

Article excerpt

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Hempfield's Maddie Holmberg knew she had a PIAA title wrapped up. But with one last attempt remaining in the long jump, she felt a certain sensation as she stood on the runway.

She looked at her parents in the stands. She glanced at her coaches behind a nearby fence.

"I started shaking on the runway," Holmberg said.

A few seconds later, the shakes turned to tears -- of joy.

On her final jump, Holmberg went where no WPIAL girl has gone before.

Twenty feet, 1 inch. Welcome to history, Maddie Holmberg.

Holmberg, daughter of a former NFL player, won the Class AAA long jump Friday at Shippensburg University and her distance of 20-1 was the best by any girl from the WPIAL in any meet. It also is the seventh-best jump in the country this year, according to Track & Field News.

"I do my best when I feel it and have a lot of adrenaline," said Holmberg, a junior, whose father, Rob, played linebacker for eight years in the NFL.

"That last jump, I just let it loose. Then I saw them put a '2' up on the board.

"It's normally a '1.' When I saw the '2' I just started bawling like a baby because I knew it was 20 feet."

All year long, Holmberg had talked about wanting to get to 20 feet. She had jumped 19-10 a year ago, but her best this spring was 19-3.

At the PIAA meet Friday, her best in her first five jumps was 19- 1, easily good enough for first place, but nowhere near 20 feet. Her final jump bettered the previous WPIAL best of 19-11 1/2 by South Park's Nikita Lewis in 1998 and Winchester Thurston's Cassie Richards in 2001.

"Even though I hadn't gotten in the high 19s all season, every time I did jump in the 19s, it has been behind the board," Holmberg said. "My coaches would always tell me, 'That would've been a 20' if I was on the board.

"So I guess I had some unfinished business all year. ... To get 20 feet, oh my gosh. This is just awesome."

Holmberg was one of three WPIAL athletes who won gold medals on the first day of the championships in front of a crowd of 4,590. …

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