STATE TRACK PREVIEW: East senior ready for state meet (video)
May 9, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2013 at 12:10 a.m.
Kamri Hardeman started triple jumping almost by accident.
Hardeman was a freshman at Faith Academy when she tried the event for the first time.
"Our coach just kind of put me into it," Hardeman said. "I just kind of got ahold of it, so I just kept doing it so I could get better at it. I just want to see how far I can go."
Hardeman is now a senior at Victoria East, and she has gone far enough in the event to qualify for the UIL's Class 4A State Track and Field Championships.
Hardeman will make her third appearance at a state meet Friday in Austin.
She competed at Mike A. Myers Stadium last year as a member of the Lady Titans' 800-meter relay team.
She also qualified for the TAPPS state meet in the triple jump as a sophomore.
"I'm happy that I made it to state," Hardeman said. "I just want to do my best."
Hardeman's personal best came at the Calallen meet in April when she jumped 37 feet, 3 inches.
She was unable to duplicate the mark at the Region IV-4A meet in San Antonio.
But she still had a jump of 36-10, which was good enough for second place behind Calhoun's Melina Ortiz, who jumped 37-1.
Hardeman became the first person from East to qualify for the state meet in an individual event.
"It's been a lot of fun," said East coach Jenni Pinson. "The last triple jumper we had was (Memorial's) Kelli Hermes. It's been fun to get another triple jumper out."
Pinson competed in the triple jump at Cuero, and she welcomed Hardeman when she transferred from Faith Academy as a junior.
"She was somebody who actually knows how to triple jump," Pinson said. "She knows the steps, knows how to do the run and stay consistent."
Hardeman was far from a finished product in the event but has made steady progress during the last two seasons.
"We've worked on lengthening out her phases and also on her last jump," Pinson said. "We've worked on getting her to go up more and be more consistent there. She struggled a lot early in the season trying to get her steps down and getting her speed consistent. Toward the end of the season, she's gotten a lot better."
Hardeman admits she had trouble with her approach early in the year but has become more comfortable as the season has progressed.
"The biggest thing is maintaining speed throughout the whole thing," she said. "The beginning of the season it was hard to hit my mark. Now, it's starting to get easier."
Hardeman was happy to qualify for the state meet but was not entirely pleased with the way she jumped at the regional meet.
"Not really," she said. "I felt I could do better. I wanted to get better than my personal record. I didn't, and I was kind of disappointed."
Pinson reminded Hardeman that the top-seeded jumper going into the finals at the regional meet finished third and didn't qualify for the state meet.
"I told her anything is possible, and anything can happen," Pinson said. "I told her just go up there and do your best."
Hardeman knows what it will take to get her best triple jump and is determined to make it happen.
"It's just following through with everything," she said. "All the fundamentals. It's making sure I do everything right. It only takes one time to do everything right. So hopefully, I'll get it."