Leap frog is a popular children’s game, played on playgrounds everywhere. The premise is simple; you crouch like a frog, and someone behind you “hops” over you. “Ribbiting” is optional. Titiana Marsh, a freshman at Thomas Dale isn’t that far removed from those playground days, but her triple jump of 40-00.00 turned heads two weekends ago at an indoor track meet at St. Christopher’s.
“It’s been hard to pick up her vibe,” said Thomas Dale Head Track Coach Jay Price. “Marsh is excited, but knows different aspects of her jump could be improved- she wants to get better.”
40 feet is the length of about three standard sized sedans. In football, it’s the equivalent of taking three bounds to hurdle 13 yards. That’s four standard basketball goals stacked on top of one another. It’s a long way.
The jump ranked Marsh best in the state for girls’ triple jump, third in the nation and was just 2.25 inches shy of a national record for freshman.
Track sports are often misunderstood. To make the smallest improvements in these events, technical aspects of each phase of the movement have to be perfected, especially in triple jump.
“She could have had the national record that day,” explained Price. “One day you’ll jump 40, the next 39 – one little mechanical thing can make all the difference in that day’s performance.”
Barring injury, Marsh would seem like a lock to break the record. Price suggested that maybe it comes in outdoor season. Even with a dynamite performance such as hers at St. Christopher’s, things weren’t always as good for the freshman.
Price, then a student teacher at Elizabeth Davis Elementary, first met Titiana playing in the sand in the jump pit, jumping aroung. As time went on, he heard her name more and more. When Price first became her coach, Marsh needed work. That work has seemingly paid off.
“We had to clear her memory,” said Price. “She was jumping with poor form and it was hard on her knees. Now we’ve got that form fixed, no more knee pain.”
Marsh is well-rounded; she’s qualified for state in triple jump, long jump and the 55m dash. Thomas Dale’s 4 x 200 relay team, who Marsh also runs on is 0.1 seconds away from qualifying and could post a strong finish in 6A.
The most impressive thing about Marsh may be her maturity level and drive to improve. The freshman’s academic returns have been stellar, and she’s shown humility through the spike in attention.
“Great character, awesome team player and student,” said Price. “There’s nothing negative to say about this student athlete.”
Thomas Dale is gearing up for the upcoming Conference 3 meet on February 11 and then onto the 6A South Regional and 6A State meets. Follow @VNewsSports for results.