RANDOLPH _ When Morris Knolls' Tymia Joseph was introduced to the triple jump as a sophomore, she was told it would come easily to her.
"Everyone said it was a hop, skip and a jump," Joseph recalled.
Joseph, though, found it frustrating. Already competing in long jump, 100 and 400 hurdles and a relay, she "could never get it" and wanted to quit. However, Joseph knew that wasn't going to happen because her coach, Imion Powell, wouldn't let her.
After nearly two seasons of taking part in the triple jump, Joseph finds it less trying. She took gold at the Morris County Championships and second at the North Jersey Section 1, Group IV meet on Saturday, May 23, earning the right to move on to groups.
"I was never interested in it," said Joseph, also fourth in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 400 hurdles in the sectional meet held at Randolph High School. "I hated this event when I started. I had trouble with the steps, the hop. I've gotten used to it. I guess it wasn't as hard as it seemed. Now, it's a love-hate relationship."
Randolph took top team honors in North Jersey Section I, Group IV led by Duke University-bound senior Liz Lansing, who was first in the 800 and 1,600, and the winning 4x800 relay squad. It was the seventh straight sectional crown for the Rams.
"This means the world," Lansing said. "It shows how strong we are. We work together. We're not individuals. We're a family."
Joseph's best jump on Saturday was 35-6. Angel Rowe of Passaic County Tech prevailed with 35-10 3/4. Joseph, whose PR is 38-4 3/4, fouled on her first two attempts in the trials on Saturday, because she was over the board by a toe.
Powell decided Joseph was going to do the triple jump for several reasons.
"Tymia is very powerful, very driven, very competitive and very coachable," he said.
The first time Joseph attempted the triple jump in practice, she leaped 33 feet. At her first meet, her best jump measured 35 feet.
"There was no choice," Powell said. "I told Tymia she was doing the triple jump, too. Kids tend to stick to what they're used to. I want them to do different things so they'll reach their potential. I want them to be uncomfortable."
Since becoming a triple jumper, Joseph has sought out information on the event. Powell said she watches You Tube videos for techniques and to better her form.
"I think a little more success has led to a little more love," Powell said. "Tymia has become really knowledgeable and dedicated herself to improving."
Not only does Joseph do track in the spring, she is a cheerleader in the fall.
"I've done track my whole life," Joseph said. "I've been cheering since seventh grade. It makes me happy. I like school spirit and get excited for the football games."
As Lansing's high school career nears its end, each race becomes more special.
"Winning means more," she said. "I don't want to win for me. I want to win for the team. I'm that much more motivated."
Being injury-free helps. Stress fractures were an issue for Lansing during her junior year.
How did she handle her races on her home track?
"I had to push the pace," Lansing said. "I went after it. In the 800, I took control of the lead. I wanted to win and for us to defend our title."
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