WARWICK — Before Sophie Mirecki landed the highest leap of her life, the clouds were unsure of what role they wanted to play at the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association championships. A drizzle had moistened the track and the sky remained overcast, but almost as soon as Mirecki broke her personal record in the pole vault, the sunlight punched its way through for the rest of the meet.
Mirecki, a Washingtonville freshman, jumped the second-highest of any New York State high school student in her class Friday at 10 feet, 3 inches. She began smiling as soon as her body cleared the bar, before it plopped on the mat. Then she ran over to her teammate, junior Emily Gorczynski, as the two jumped and clapped and worked through a secret handshake that appeared just as difficult to master as her athletic feat.
“It’s amazing,” Mirecki said. “I’m still shocked.”
In the fifth row of the bleachers, Sophie’s father, Greg, was standing by, the easiest face to locate in the crowd. Every time his daughter sprinted down the lane and took off, he was either watching with pride or shooting video to show Mirecki later.
This time, she didn't need to review the video.
“She didn’t even look at that today,” Greg said. "I think she just felt it.”
When Greg told his mother, Heidi, that her granddaughter had eclipsed 10 feet, she threw both thumbs in the air and screamed, “Yes! Wonderful!”
Head coach Stephanie Duffy described Mirecki as someone with “huge potential,” and on Friday she turned some of that potential into reality sooner than some expected. As Mirecki walked across the track, two coaches passed by asking Mirecki if she had reached 9 feet, maybe even 9 feet, 6 inches.
“I’m only a freshman and jumping over 10 feet, it’s just…” Mirecki said, unable to find a word to encapsulate her feelings.
Mirecki finished second only to Warwick senior Kaeli Thompson — who became the first girl to win four consecutive OCIAA outdoor pole vault titles — and immediately ahead of six more seniors, juniors and sophomores. When Thompson graduates this spring, the next OCIAA championship could be Mirecki’s for the taking. She has a lot of support to help her get there.
Her most surprising supporter on Friday? The weather.
“She made the sun come out,” Greg said.