Watch the NJSIAA Meet of Champions LIVE on MileSplit
No one was more surprised than Madison Cappuccio.
The freshman from Barnegat had just won the State Group 2 high jump title by defeating state record holder and defending champion Jenna Rogers of Rutherford on misses on Saturday at Central Regional in Bayville, and she couldn't stop smiling as shock and excitement came over her.
Cappuccio and Rogers both made 5-6, but Cappuccio made it on her first attempt and Rogers on her second try to give Cappuccio the victory.
The 5-6 was a personal best by on inch for Cappuccio, a member of a competitive cheer-leading squad who dabbled in the high jump in eighth grade last year.
"I tried high jumping a little last year, but didn't know what I was doing,'' said Cappuccio, who also placed eighth in the Group 2 long jump on Friday at 16-9. "I do competitive cheer, so I didn't do indoor track this year. I figured I'd give it a try this spring,. I never expected to be this good and be a state champ. I just can't believe I am a state champion. I've only been really focusing on high jump for the last couple months, but I'm tall (5-8) and in cheer I'm always jumping and flipping and doing stuff in the air, so I guess that it's just all coming together now.''
Cappuccio said she knew all about Rogers, who made a state record 6-0 3/4 when she won the national outdoor title as a freshman two years ago. Rogers missed half of the season and is still less than 100 percent as she's competing with a stress fracture in her left foot that hasn't completely healed.
"I know what a great jumper and competitor she is, so knew I'd have to be at my best to have a chance to win,'' said Cappuccio. "It's just great to keep improving as I continue to learn the event, and winning this is great for my confidence. Hopefully I can keep going higher and higher.''