Evart high jumper claims Division 4 state championship

HUDSONVILLE — Jessica Tea-Hui couldn't have ended her high jumping career in a better way.

The Wildcat senior won the high jump (5-4) for the Wildcats while Kristen Parsons finished third in the shot put (36-8.25) to earn All-State honors at the Division 4 state track and field meet Saturday at Hudsonville.

In the girls competition, Evart finished the day tied for 10th with 16 points. Tea-Hui also competed in other events

“Jessica had a little tough luck in the long jump,” said Evart coach Ken Willems, noting that due to a family celebration issue, “they got to the meet a little bit late. In the long jump, Jessica didn't have time to take even one warmup jump.

“She missed the finals in the long jump by three inches. She never hit the board. She was always behind the board. That was tough luck. In the high jump, she started jumping very well. She made 5-4 on her first attempt. There was one other competitor going. She missed her first two and made it on her third one. They both missed all three attempts at 5-5. The rule is it goes to the last height they made.”

It was also Tea-Hui's season's best.

“She did a great job,” Willems said. “Once she got warmed up she had a real good day. We were real proud of her.”

Parsons’ first two throws in the trials wouldn't have put her in the finals. Her third throw put her in the finals. “Her body language indicated she was going to have a good throw,” Willems said.

That's when Parsons delivered her best throw of the meet.

“In both cases, it's their senior season, it was their opportunity,” Willems said. “Jessica had placed in the high jump before. This was her chance to win. Kirsten had never placed in the state. This was their chance and they took it.”

“We had a lot of awesome competition,” Parsons said. “I was looking to place in the top eight in shot put. I PRed by almost two feet. I did what I wanted to do.”

The temperatures were the highest they had been all season but Parsons didn't mind.

“I enjoy the hot weather,” she said. The Evart boys finished tied for 31st with six points and had three athletes earn All-State distinction. Dean Marsh placed eighth in the discus (134-2) while Max Hodges came in sixth in the 800 meters (2:00.78) and Santana Scott was seventh in the 3,200 meters (10:11.10).

Pioneer sports editor Greg Buckner contributed to this report.