Going into the long jump finals, Nebtom N’Da was pleased with where she stood in the standings.
She was sitting in second place and was excited about earning her first state medal. Then the Bellevue East sophomore exploded for a leap of 18-feet, 7.25 inches in her second to last jump.
That distance ended up winning N’Da the Class A state long jump gold medal. She is the first Bellevue East girls to win a state title since 2009, when Taylor Jensen won the discus.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” N’Da said. “To go out there and PR and bust out an 18-7 is amazing. I’m so excited.”
N’Da wasn’t sure she was even going to medal so entering the finals in second was huge for her.
“I was happy with second going to finals and I wasn’t even sure I was going to medal at state,” she said.
Then her big jump happened and her tune changed.
“I was like ‘Oh this is it. I think I just took the lead,’” she said.
N’Da found a new gear in districts that helped her reach the state title. Her season-long jump entering districts was 16-7 so when she cleared 18 feet to earn the district title she knew she could go farther.
“To get 18 out there brought me a lot of confidence,” she said.
N’Da, a sophomore, said being able to experience the state meet in the high jump last season helped her deal with the pressure this year. She didn’t have the same level of nerves.
Now that she had a state title to her name, she’ll be the one to beat in her final two seasons. She knows she’ll need to keep up her hard work but for now, she’s reveling in her accomplishment.
“I get my name on the wall of champions and I broke the school record,” she said. “That’s pretty cool.”