It's a masochistic event, one that usually ends in failure and one that is in direct conflict with gravity.
But for Cooperstown junior Lucy Ford, the high jump pit at Middletown High must have seemed like heaven Saturday afternoon.
Despite jumping on an injured left ankle, Ford broke her school record on the same day she became her school's first female to win a title in the New York State Track and Field Championships.
Ford cleared 5-foot-5 to win Division II state title in the high jump at Middletown, the host of what was supposed to be a two-day event but turned into an all-day Saturday competition as heavy rain wiped out Friday's schedule.
On a day many area athletes struggled to compete against the state's best, the 6-1 Ford stood tall.
“It's still sinking in,” Ford said Sunday. “It's really exciting and I've gotten a lot of congratulations.”
The up-and-down saga to Ford's season took life during Cooperstown's Don Howard Invitational.
During an impressive high jump competition at the May 4 meet, Ford cleared 5-4 ¼ to beat Oneonta High's Brittney Herrick, who finished at 5-4, and Natalie Vanderlaan-Meyering, who made it over 5-1. All three competed this weekend.
But after Ford went over 5-4 ¼, she told coach Connie Herzig her left foot felt “funny.”
Turns out, Ford pulled the deltoid muscle in her left ankle and spent the next two weeks in a walking boot.
“There are always bumps in the road,” Cooperstown girls coach Connie Herzig said of Ford, who earned the area's first state title since then-Cooperstown senior Alec Silvera won the D-II title in the 110-meter hurdles in 2011. “There are always things to overcome. Nothing is ever achieved without issues or problems along the way. She had to rise to the occasion and overcome them. The injury was one of those things.”