ROME — Morgan Bentley’s pursuit of a state championship is complete in one sport. The Brookwood junior still has a chance in another.
Bentley won the Class AAAAAAA triple jump state title at Berry College on Friday, four days before she starts in the Final Four for the Broncos’ girls soccer team. Soccer is her main sport — she has committed to Louisville — but as she proved at the state meet, she also is one of the state’s best in track and field.
Her winning leap was 39 feet, 6 1/2 inches, slightly off her personal record of 40-2. She fouled on her next four jumps before finishing with a jump of 38-2 1/4.
She also finished third in the long jump later in the evening at 18-4 1/4.
“It feels amazing (to win state),” Bentley said of her first state title. “I wish I could have made my first couple of jumps. I only jumped two legal marks. I wanted to PR, so it could have been better. But it feels great.”
Since beginning high school, Bentley has balanced time with both sports at Brookwood.
“I’ve gotten used to it,” she said. “It took years of managing. Freshman year I got hurt trying to do both. It took us knowing when I need a break, knowing my body. … I warmup with my soccer team, we do touches and drills with the ball. When they do fitness and stuff, I go down to the track, so halfway through practice. … They make me better for each. Track makes me better at soccer. Soccer makes me better at track. Soccer keeps me from getting injured in track, keeps my legs strong.”
Her coaches in both sports work together so she is able to contribute for the Broncos in multiple ways each spring.
“The girl’s got a motor that does not quit,” Brookwood coach Eric Rovie said. “She can go out, do her soccer practice, come out, run some sprints, do some run-throughs on the runway. There’s never a time when she shows up and she is not ready to compete, which is amazing. … (A state title) was a big goal. She didn’t have the kind of performance she wanted last year. She underperformed in the triple jump and overperformed in the long jump. This was the monkey on her back, like I want to win this.”
Mill Creek’s Nya Lakin was fifth in the triple jump at 37-8 1/2, while Peachtree Ridge’s Paityn House (seventh, 36-7 1/2) and Parkview’s Jordan Pringle (eighth, 36-4 1/2) also scored in the event.