Anna Lopez has gone leaps and bounds in the triple jump in more ways than one.
She took to the new event as a sophomore and was a fast learner.
The St. Bede junior opened the season by winning the Top Times Indoor state championship. Shen then broke the 26-year-old school record and then beat her own record twice more. Lopez jumped her way to a seventh-place Class 1A state medal in the triple jump and qualified for state in the long jump and 100 meters.
“I think it’s really important to be versatile and have multiple events that you can succeed in and I’m really proud of myself. I was able to put in the work and make it down there in three events even if I didn’t make it to finals in the other two,” Lopez said.
For all of her accomplishments, the Spring Valley product is the 2022 BCR Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
“There’s always room for improvement, but that might just be me being hard on myself because I want to be good at everything,” Lopez said. “I’m proud of what I accomplished with all the obstacles, COVID and stuff, that I could get down there in three events and be talking to you here today (for Athlete of the Year).”
Because she didn’t jump her best at state, Lopez is motivated to do better next year.
“You always want to improve and always want to be better,” she said. “Compared to some of the distances and stuff I was putting up in the season, what I jumped at state, I know I can do better. My PR would have put me at third down there.
“I wasn’t disappointed with my results, but motivated to do better next year. I’m still proud of it.”
Lopez won the sectional title in the triple jump, placed second in the long jump and qualified on time with a third-place 12.95 in the 100 meters.
St. Bede coach Marty Makransky said Lopez is a graceful track athlete.
“Anna makes her jumping and running look so effortless, but it’s because she has put in so much hard work that it makes it look that way,” he said. “The past three years she has worked through COVID-19, an injury, and this year’s shortened season due to the rain. Despite all this, she managed to break a school record in the triple jump.
“I know she has much higher goals for next season not only in the triple jump, but she is also very close to the long jump and 100-meter records as well. This should make for a terrific run again toward the state meet. We look forward to seeing her accomplish these goals and more.”
Lopez’s favorite event used to be the long jump, crowned as the IESA state champion in the eighth grade, competing for La Salle Trinity. An injury knocked her out of the long jump as a sophomore and she now specializes and spends most of her time working on her triple jump, spending Sunday mornings working with a personal trainer in Sterling.
But that doesn’t mean it’s come easy and that pushes her to strive to become the best she can.
“I think triple jump is probably one of the hardest events, especially physically. On your body, it’s really hard,” she said. “I’m really not used to starting something and not be that great at it. When I started triple jump, I was not good.
“When I went to triple jump, I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m good at long jump. I’ll probably be good at triple jump.’ That’s not how it works. I think for me it was the challenge of improving myself and progressing in an event I wasn’t that great in particular.”
Lopez, who topped Julia Tybor’s school record of 33-10 set in 1996 with her effort of 35-10 1/4, is setting her sights on raising the bar on her school record and take a step up the medal stand next year.
“It would be really good to break my own record. I really want to break 11 meters. I jumped a 10.93, that was my PR. But I’d really loved to break 11 meters,” she said. “That would guarantee top three at state probably. That’s another medal, personal achievement and another school record.”
Lopez will also try to track down the school records in the long jump of 16-8 1/2, set by Lauren Giordano n 2017, and the 100 meters of 12.74, held by Karissa Dinges since 1997.
As good as she is in track and field, Lopez said volleyball is probably her favorite sport where she plays right-side hitter for the Bruins.
“I focus more on track because I’m a little more gifted at that. But I enjoy being on a team and building off others,” she said.
The Anna Lopez File:
• BCR Female Trackster of the Year
• State medalist, triple jump
• State qualifier, long jump, 100
• Sectional champ, triple jump
• School record, triple jump