Jumping at the chance: Chambersburg s Marshay Ryan has already accomplished a lot in high school track & field and expects to do even more at the
Jumping at the chance: Chambersburg s Marshay Ryan has already accomplished a lot in high school track & field and expects to do even more at the collegiate level at Auburn University. (Public Opinion file photo)
Chambersburg senior jumper Marshay Ryan has obliterated the Trojan record books.

After winning a PIAA Class AAA state title in the long jump as a sophomore, she repeated as champion last year while adding a gold in the triple jump - her first year competing in the event.

But the scary-good stat that pulled recruiters from top Division I college programs - including Duke, LSU, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Kansas State and Auburn - into her living room was the number two.

That's how many seasons of serious competition Ryan has completed at Chambersburg.

"She's really relatively new, especially in the triple jump," Trojan girls track and field coach Chris Monheim said. "She's only been at that event for a short time. That's the kind of thing at the college level, with an increase in strength - that's gonna be huge. I don't think she's anywhere near her limit in that event. When she's doing it full-time you could see another breakthrough for her."

At a gathering inside the CASHS library on Wednesday afternoon, Ryan announced her decision to accept a full-ride scholarship to jump at Auburn University next year by signing a letter of intent. There she'll major in architecture and pursue a masters in interior architecture.

"Everything was nice. The academic support was strong and the coaches were great," Ryan said. "They're really well-detailed in the way they coach their girls, which is something I'm interested in.


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With her final high school track & field season around the corner, Ryan holds school records in the long jump (19-5.25, previously set by Tina Beam in 1988 at 18-4.50) and triple jump (40-5, previously held by Tunisia Lacy with a 37-6.75 leap in 2001).

Few local jumpers have tested Ryan in her short career. More often, the storyline has been Ryan out-jumping the field - sometimes in the long jump by as much as eight feet.

It won't be that easy for Ryan at Auburn and in SEC competition.

"I'm looking forward to talking to her after her first year of college," said Chambersburg jumping coach Bob Walker, also admitting Ryan has a lot of work still to do to reach her potential.

Last June, Ryan met her stiffest competition to date at the National Federation of State High School Associations track & field championships in Greensboro, N.C.

"That was probably the most exciting (highlight) because of the competition and how big of a meet it was," Ryan said. "It was a private meet, but it was so big, and everyone there was as good or better than I was."

The environment pushed Ryan to step up her performance and she did - breaking her own personal record in the long jump (19-5.5) and topping her PR successively on all three of her triple jumps (42-3.75) - good for silver in both events.

"That got all the attention of the Division I schools and the country parade started," Walker said. "The Duke coach came up to me and said, 'I think we found America's next great triple jumper.'"

Ryan, whose heart had been more captivated by the sport of basketball, was finally coming around to track & field.

Walker said, "After the meet, waiting for the shuttle bus back to the hotel, she had a big smile on her face and said, 'You know coach, track's pretty cool, I'll give you that.' That was the first time I'd heard her say that."

Ryan has treated Walker and Monheim to several other magical highlights.

"During her sophomore season she went to an AAU basketball tournament and rolled her ankle," Walker said. "She missed about three weeks of practice and we didn't take her to the Mid Penn championships. She had qualified for (District 3-AAA championships) though, and finished second. The next week she won states - just a miraculous recovery."

Someday Ryan hopes her talents and hard work will bring dreams much greater than Auburn to fruition.

"My goal is to go to the Olympics and hopefully break the world record in the triple jump (which is currently just over 50-10)," Ryan said. "If I keep improving and do what I need to do, I believe I can get there."

Walker shares a similar vision.

"I told my wife this summer watching the Olympic trials that it's not far fetched for me to say we need to make plans for 2016 (the Summer Olympics in Rio)," Walker said.

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Jeff Kolb can be reached at 262-4819 or jkolb@publicopinionnews.com.

Marshay Ryan file

Personal records: Long jump - 19-5.5; triple jump - 42-3.75; both set at the NFSHSA meet last June in runner-up finishes

School records: Long jump - 19-5.25; triple jump - 40-5; also holds the Trojan Stadium and District 3 record in long jump, and the stadium record in the triple jump

Championships: 2011 - PIAA Class AAA in long jump; 2012 - long jump and triple jump titles in Mid Penn, District 3 and PIAA

Consistent winner: In the long jump, Ryan has been in 21 competitions in her career and has 17 first and 3 seconds; in the triple jump, she has 9 firsts in 10 competitions.