MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Blake senior Robbie Grace is so good at the long jump, she’s better than most at the college level.

Earlier this month, she long jumped 20 feet, 1 inch — just a quarter-inch shy of the all-time state record. She’s only the second high school girl in state history to clear 20 feet. For context, that jump would have placed her 17th at the Division I college national championships this past year.

“My goal for the end of the season was to jump just 20 feet, as close as possible, and be consistent in the 19 range, and so it was really exciting when I just got up and they’re like, ‘20-feet-1,’ I freaked out,” Grace said. “It was just like, I was full of energy and just adrenaline, and I feel like that jump was just pure adrenaline.”

Robbie Grace (credit: CBS)

So what’s her secret?

“One thing is just when I’m in the air, just always like keeping your eyes forward at the end of the pit,” Grace said. “It’s really easy to like look down when you’re jumping, or just like mid-air and you just want to look down, and your feet will go down right when your eyes will go down. So I think something that I personally am just trying to work on is just keeping my head up.”

There might be a metaphor there. To be the best, you have to keep your eyes on your goal. You can’t look at where you are, only where you’re going.

“It’s just a subconscious thing, like when you look down, everything just goes down,” she said.

Something she’s definitely applied to her whole life. Where Grace is going after this season is Wake Forest, where she’s expected to step right in and immediately compete at the top of college long jumping.

A top athlete at a top school, with all the potential ahead of her, and her eyes focused on her goals.

“It’s a really great feeling, yeah,” Grace said.

David McCoy

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