Outdoor T&F Preview: Girls’ Jumping Events

With so many variables, it’s never easy. But we’ll give it our best shot predicting who we feel will be some of our top track & field athletes this outdoor season. Here we feature the girls’ jumping events, which includes the pole vault, long jump, triple jump and high jump.


South Kingstown’s Sierra Thompson proved this past indoor season that she’s R.I.’s best ever multi-event athlete breaking the state pentathlon record not once, but twice during the winter campaign. The Rebels’ outstanding senior also made it clear that she’s one of our top high-jumpers this year, something she made clear by winning her first individual title in this event at the mid-February State Meet. Thompson achieved that status by soaring to a height of 5 feet, 6.5 inches, an all-time best by 2.5 inches! With the outdoor season just beginning, we’re listing the Sacred Heart commit as the early favorite to do it again this spring. Who are some of the top athletes that could prevent that from happening? For starters, there’s Middletown’s Katelin Cruikshank. The Islanders’ junior had an off day at the states, placing 11th overall. But at her best, Cruikshank was consistently in that 5-2 to 5-3 range this past season. She also held the state’s No. 1 spot for nearly the entire season leading up to the championship meet with a PR of 5-5 from her season-opening victory at the RITCA Invitational. Cruikshank was our Class C winner last spring with an outdoor best of 5-3 and a runner-up to graduating senior Morgan Casey of Portsmouth at the states. A few more athletes are in the 5-2 range, including Barrington’s Helena Hyde, Exeter/West Greenwich’s Nini Olawuyi and South Kingstown’s Jasmine Thompson, the freshmen state titlist in 2023.


There’s no doubt one of the most exciting competitions of the indoor states back in February was in this event. On her very last attempt, Cranston West’s Quianna Pezza earned gold by leaping to a huge PR of 18-10.5, Pezza beat the Rebels’ Thompson, the previous leader, by 1.5 inches. West Warwick’s Lisa Raye was third at 18-8.75. All will be back this spring and you have to figure that the 19-foot mark is a reality for this talented trio with anyone of them capable of taking it all at the states. Could we have another epic battle in early June? It could happen. Other top athletes in this event include Olqwuyi, Cumberland’s Grace Bleyer, Barrington’s Sophia Ford and Mount Hope teammates Thea Jackson and Lola Silva, who all have done in the high 17-foot range over the last two seasons.


Judging by our top returnees, the competition could get intense this season.Just one foot separates the top six athletes, led by the Scarlet Knights’ NIni Olawuyi. As a ninth-grader last year, Olawuyi was second at the State Meet with a best of 35-4.5. Other 35-footers include the Falcons’ Pezza (35-2.75), the Easges’ Ford (35-2.5) and Cranston West’s Reece Vitala. Also in the mix are the Huskies’ Jackson (34-8.5) and Cumberland’s Grace Bleyer (34-4.5).


The competition appears to be wide open in this event. Barrington’s Ellie Noonan comes in as our top returnee after clearing 10-3 at the New England Championships last spring. She was also a runner-up at the states. North Kingstown’s Abigail Nicolopoulos is at No. 2 with a best of 10-0. South Kingstown’s Greta Dahl, Classical’s Lela Hopkins and Portsmouth’s Rowan Snyder, all had best of 9-0 last year.

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