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The Boston Globe

West

Lincoln-Sudbury track team boasts long line of success

High jump coach Doug Potter worked with Victoria Kruy.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

High jump coach Doug Potter worked with Victoria Kruy.

SUDBURY — The line of succession has stayed strong at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional.

A seasoned senior, a talented junior, a promising sophomore or two — collectively, they make up a nearly unbeaten line of outstanding jumpers for the track and field program.

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The perennial power has talent in other events, but the high jump remains a source of strength for the Warriors.

On the girls’ side, coach Henry Phelan and assistant Doug Potter  have a 1-2-3 punch that is perhaps the top trio in the state in Lucy Alexander, Meghan Klapper, and Kristin Kimble.

“I don’t think people realize how amazing coach Potter is,” said Alexander, a Globe All-Scholastic pick outdoors last spring as a sophomore.

As a freshman, Alexander struggled to reach the qualifying mark for the state meet. Under Cook’s tutelage, she won the state coaches meet and the EMass Division 1 championship outdoors, finishing third in the All-State outdoor meet and fifth at the New Englands.

Still only a junior, the 6-foot-1 Alexander has tied the Dual County League record of 5-6 indoors this winter and has already qualified for the nationals. She said her goal this year is a state championship, and a strong finish in the New Englands and the nationals.

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Consistent senior Meghan Klapper has jumped 5-2, and up-and-coming sophomore Kristin Kimble recently joined the 5-foot club indoors. Waiting in the wings is sophomore Victoria Kruy, who jumped 4-6 as a freshman indoors. 

Having three skilled female jumpers at 5 feet or better gives the defending champion Warriors a chance to set a record in the high jump in the Division 1 Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association Relays on Jan. 12. The current combined mark of 15 feet 9 inches is held by Andover.  

“If all three of our best jump to their potential, we could threaten the record,” said Potter.

Under the direction of Phelan and Potter, Lincoln-Sudbury’s high jumpers have found it quite easy to make another kind of leap — from high school to college.

Sam Wuest, a 2009 grad who jumped 6-7 in high school, is a Boston University senior.  Mitchell McGinty, who leaped 6-5 before graduating last spring from Lincoln-Sudbury, is a member of the track team at Boston College.

Maggie Fleming, a 2009 grad, is a senior at Dartmouth. Potter’s daughter, Leah, who jumped 5-4 despite suffering injuries her last season as a senior, now competes for Tufts, her father‘s alma mater.

Potter said the development of a high jumper can be a long and arduous process. That’s why he’s always scouting out talent when he coaches at the middle school level.

“Lucy and Meghan weren’t born, but made,” he said. “You need someone with coordination and flexibility. You teach technique, help them gain the strength they need, but they have to want it. It takes a long time.”

Alexander, who also plays field hockey, participated in track at the middle school level but was struggling just to get a qualifying jump as a freshman.

“It was actually very hard at first,” she said. “I didn’t get it quickly.”

Alexander jumped 4-9 as a freshman using the scissors jump technique, which she still uses as a warm-up drill. She switched to the standard Fosbury flop as a sophomore, and seemed to be plateauing at 4-11 until last spring, when she exploded to 5-4 during practice before jumping 5-6 at the All-State meet.

“She’s still growing into her body,” Potter said of Alexander. “She wants a lot more and there’s still two or three or four inches still to come. Because she’s so tall, her technique doesn’t have to be as good as the other girls.’ ”

The Lincoln-Sudbury track teams train 90 minutes per day in the high school’s multiuse gym. “We’re lucky that the kids have a place to jump every day, both inside and outside,” said Potter. “A lot of teams can’t say that. We can spot things during practice and correct them.”

Phelan limits the number of events each athlete can compete in, a philosophy that allows more to excel, according to Potter.

“If you’re doing the high jump and two or three other events, you’re not going to have the legs to compete at the highest level,” he said.

The sorority of female high jumpers is a tight-knit one, and high fives and congratulations are the order of the day after any successful jump. Even when that jump is by Savanna Craib, from Acton-Boxborough Regional High, who has been in a heated rivalry with the Warrior jumpers since she was a freshman.

“It’s a very social event, because we’re spending several hours with each other at a lot of the meets,” said Alexander.

Potter said the athletes are “very supportive of each other. Now when they’re competing they want to win, but they want to have fun, too. And that’s great.”

Rich Fahey can be reached at fahey.rich2@ gmail.com.

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