Roncalli senior ends career with long jump title

BLOOMINGTON

Paige Saylor knows if she’s about to do something special a split-second after her left foot hits the long jump board.

On Saturday, the Roncalli senior concluded her career with a state championship at Saturday’s Girls State Track and Field Finals.

Saylor’s school-record effort of 19 feet, 1 inch bested her old program standard, established at the 2016 Warren Central Regional, by two inches. She is the second state champion in the history of Roncalli girls track and field, joining 2004 shot put titlist Anna Weber.

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“It was amazing,” Saylor said of the moment she realized she had won. “I went over and hugged my long jump coach (Kevin Banich) because one of my goals was to go over 19 feet.

“I had visualized myself on the award’s podium, so when I won it was so surreal.”

The 5-6 Saylor, a starting point guard who averaged 13.3 points, 5.9 assists and four steals for the Roncalli girls basketball team this past season, has likely long jumped for the final time.

She’s considering offers from the women’s basketball programs at the University of Evansville and Illinois State University. Saylor will visit a third candidate, Robert Morris University (near Pittsburgh), on June 12.

She leaves with her name printed frequently in the Roncalli girls track record book. Aside from holding the program’s top mark in the long jump, Saylor has run the fastest 100-meter dash (12.8 seconds) and been part of the Rebels’ record-setting 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

“Paige has literally been the best athlete we’ve ever had in our track and field program,” 21st-year Roncalli coach Royce Antolin said. “She’s run five different events, and holds school records in four of them.

“Obviously, Paige has the raw talent, but she also works extremely hard and just has this intense desire to win.”

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.