• Centennial freshman Savoria Anderson will compete Saturday in the girls triple jump at the UIL Class 5A State Track and Field Championhsips. BURLESON STAR/COURTESY PHOTO

Anderson’s a hop, skip and jump off the old block

Savoria Anderson and Monica Taylor Anderson have a bond that goes beyond just that of daughter and mother.

They have the triple jump.

Savoria, a freshman at Centennial, will follow in her mother’s footsteps at 2 p.m. Friday y when she competes in the triple jump at the UIL Class 5A State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

Monica, a 1985 graduate of Killeen Ellison, finished second in the triple jump at the state meet for three consecutive years. Her senior year she competed in the triple jump, high jump and 100-meter hurdles at the state meet.

“It’s in our blood honestly,” Monica said. “My brother and sisters ran also and my oldest daughter won the SWAC title her senior year at Alcott University in the 400 hurdles.”

At the Region II championships, Savoria turned in a personal-best and school-record effort of 38 feet, 7.75 inches to finish third. She qualified for regionals as the wildcard in the event because her distance was the next best in the state among all who didn’t finish first or second at the four regional meets.

Anderson will be the first Centennial track and field athlete to compete in a field event at state. Centennial’s only other state competitor was Kendall Rodriguez who finished seventh in the girls 300 hurdles at the UIL Class 5A championships in 2015.

Savoria said her goal at state is the clear 40 feet, but thinks a more reasonable mark if 39 feet.

At regionals, she competed with a hip injury which should be cleared up by Saturday. She qualified for the finals at regionals on one attempt and the fought through the pain competing in the finals.

After qualifying for the finals, Savoria said she was a little relieved because entering the prelims she knew she was facing for talented and more experience athletes.

But her hip injury had her concerned.

“I was discouraged because my hip was hurting and I couldn’t run that well,” she said. “But I pushed through it.”

Heading into the state meet, Anderson ranks fifth among the nine competitors. She is just an inch behind Lubbock Coronado’s NeNe Phenix, who sits third among state qualifies. Anderson’s distance at the Region II meet would have been good enough to win the Region II and Region IV titles.

Centennial girls head track and field coach Sarah Eden said Savoria is a hard-worker and is learning with each practice and attempt.

“She’s very young and is getting better and seeing what it takes to be successful,” Eden said. “Coach (Rita) Kellum has done a good job working with her.“

Savoria said Kellum helps her a lot with her coaching and advice.

“She pushes me hard,” Savoria said. “She tells me to keep up my speed and has been helping me in all my phases of triple jumping.”

Savoria is not only getting advice about state from her coaches but also from her mother, who has some experience. Monica began competing at the state meet as a sophomore.

She said she has talked to her daughter about what it will be like competed in front of big crowd.

“I told her that it’s going to be scary being a freshman and that she just needs to stay focused and not let the pressure get to her,” Monica said. “I used to get scared or nervous before I competed and once it was time I just focused and remained relaxed. I told her to think of it like any other track meet and always do her best and go after her personal best.”

This is definitely as a case where mother knows best.

In seventh grade, Savoria wanted to long jump but her coach told her she was going to triple jump instead. She told the coach that was fine since that’s what her mother did in high school.

“It’s fun to do it because my mom did,” Savoria said. “And I was pretty good at it.”

Friday, Savoria will follow in her mom’s footsteps with a hop, a skip and a jump.

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