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Neidra Covington proves there's no rest for the successful, sandwiching multiple national meets between prep ones.
By BOB PUTNAM
Published March 5, 2006
Neidra Covington has no idea where she is ranked nationally in the long or triple jump. She has no clue where her next big meet will be.
"I just leave that stuff for Mom to figure out," Covington said.
The Boca Ciega senior has a hard time keeping track of those things, especially after a whirlwind year in which she competed across North America.
It seems the best way to describe her accomplishments is with a list:
At the Hawaii Classic in January 2005, Covington won the long jump, triple jump, earned two gold medals in the relays and received a plaque for being MVP in the field events.
During the Class 3A state meet in Coral Springs last season, Covington won the long jump, placed second in the triple jump and ran anchor legs on the 4x100 relay team that finished third and the 4x400 relay team that was fifth.
She won the long jump in the junior division (ages 19 or younger) at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships in Carson, Calif., in June to earn a spot on the U.S. roster for the Pan-American Junior Championships.
At the AAU Junior Olympic Games in New Orleans in August, Covington was named MVP after winning the long and triple jumps.
With those credentials, it's easy to see why Covington already ranks as the prohibitive favorite in the long and triple jumps.
Her best mark in the long jump (20 feet, 11/4 inches) is more than a foot farther than her closest competitor, Deandra Doyley of Fort Lauderdale. Covington has put even more distance between herself and the rest of the competition in the triple jump, with a top mark of 41-6, nearly 4 feet farther than everyone else.
Covington's quest is to not win state titles, but to break state records.
"My goal is to go 20-5 in the long jump and 42 feet in the triple jump," Covington said.
She got a head start on that last month by competing in the Simplot Games in Idaho. Covington finished first in the long jump and third in the triple jump.
More big meets will follow. Next week, Covington will go to Maryland for the Nike Indoor Challenge. After the high school season ends, she will head to North Carolina for the Adidas Outdoor Championships.
Then it's off to Texas Christian University, where she will be running track next year.
"I'm still going to be on the go," Covington said. "But I don't mind. I like to be busy."