BOULDER — Competing in the jumps has long been something that interested Boulder's Lily Margolis and yet, whether it be injury or the team requiring her talents elsewhere on the heat sheet, something has always stood in her way.
The Panthers' multi-talented junior is getting her chance this spring, and Margolis has been making the most of it through the first month of the 2018 season. Currently, Margolis is third in all of Colorado in the long jump after hitting a mark of 18 feet, 1.5 inches at the Coyote Warrior Invitational on March 17. She also is 12th in the state with the mark of 35-8 she hit in the triple jump at the Boulder Quad on March 21.
The obstacles have been cleared and Margolis isn't holding back.
"My freshman year, I was doing a little bit of long jump and I was having some back troubles that year so the first time I jumped I hurt my back," Margolis said. "But I've just continued to work on the long and triple whenever I could and coming into this season, we realized that I had a real opportunity to score some points there so I've been doing it pretty regularly.
"It's really cool because everybody in the jumps is really nice. And I really love doing it. To be able to do long jump with girls like Maya Evans (Lutheran) and Mary Gillett (Niwot) and to be right up there competing with them is such an honor. It's a great community and a little niche that I'm happy to be able to be a part of finally."
Despite adding the jumps, Margolis hasn't lost any love for the sprinting events in which she has thrived throughout her young track career. In both of her best events on the track, she currently sits top 15 in Class 5A with a time of 26.06 seconds in the 200 and a 59.44 in the 400. Margolis simply is enamored with the idea of competing in many, varied events and getting to experience their differences.
Of course, getting a richer experience in the many events track and field offers also requires a significant amount of extra work. At meets these days, Margolis' routine consists of running from one event to another, often having to check out of a jumping rotation to race a 400 or 200 and come back to resume the event after a brief rest period.
"It's kind of up in the air whether I consider myself and sprinter or a jumper," Margolis said. "I love my sprint events and I also really love jumping. They're just different. You don't get the same adrenaline for jumps compared to what you get setting up at the line for sprints. But in the jumps, you don't get so stressed out and you get to know the girls you're competing against. I really love getting to do both.
"Lately, I've been doing the long, triple, 400 and 200, so all open events. My running events cross over with my field events a lot but everybody's been really accommodating for me and has been really helpful with checking out and checking in and giving me run-throughs and stuff like that. It's been really nice and I always try to get back and forth really fast so that everyone can stay on time."
In order to learn the technique for the jumps, in which she is a more naturally-inclined triple jumper, Margolis started working with R.E.A.L. Training last summer and long jumped at the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic. Her work ethic and ability to hone new techniques rapidly has already left an impression on current Niwot High head track coach and R.E.A.L. Training founder Maurice Henriques.
"I'm good friends with (Boulder track coach) Carl Worthington and he doesn't have time to run an indoor program, so it's great that he lets his kids come out there and train with us," Henriques said. "We try to be a resource for a lot of local kids and it's been exciting to see Lily improve. She's a kid that was not even thinking about running track in college but now that she's jumping so well, she's starting to think about it."
While a collegiate track career is quickly becoming a possibility for Margolis, the most immediate next step for her is winning a medal in an individual event at the Colorado state championships. As a sophomore last season, she anchored the Panthers' 1,600-meter relay that placed fourth and will be looking to add some more hardware to her collection at Jefferson County Stadium in May.
Medals and state scoring aside, Margolis means even more to the Panthers for what she brings to the table as a leader and an example of what can be accomplished through hard dedication.
"I think the main thing is that she isn't afraid to run the quarter, 200, 100 and just go out there and work," Worthington said. "All of those things contributed to her becoming a jumper because the added strength helped her. She already had some jumping ability and everything is just starting to pop right now. She's had some bothersome injuries the last couple years and we also really needed her in some relays so we didn't want to push her too much. But it's great that it's working out for her this season and it has been fun to watch."