OWOSSO — Senior Lexi Martenis shattered Owosso’s oldest track and field record and is now setting her sights on the top five at Saturday’s Division 2 finals.
Martenis eclipsed Marcia Sumbera’s 1979 record of 16 feet, 11 3/4 inches at the Division 2 regional May 17 at Corunna, leaping 17-7 1/2. The third-place effort bettered her season-best by nearly 1 1/2 feet and met state-qualifying standards.
Martenis said her background in competitive cheer helped prepare her for the long jump. She was on the Trojans cheer team for three years before joining an all-star travel team in Lansing, Wildcats Cheer Pride, for 11 months.
“I conditioned hard for like three days a week,” Martenis said. “I beat my (personal records) in my first meet.”
Owosso track and field coach Brock Holtsclaw said the key to the long jump record was that Martenis launched off right on the edge of the board. He said Martenis has often started her long jumps well back of where she has to.
“I knew she had it in her the whole time,” Holtsclaw said. “She’s been jumping in the lower 16’s throughout the year. And the qualifying distance was 16-4. We knew she had it in her — especially since most of the time this year she’s been jumping from the front of the board. She’s not allowing herself to jump from where she’s supposed to. I knew she had an extra foot in her … she finally went from the right spot.”
The right spot indeed as Martenis went into the record books on her very last jump at the regionals.
“I just tried everything I possibly could to make it,” she said. “I was not expecting a 17-7, I was not expecting that at all. It was a complete surprise to me.”
Martenis will compete in the Division 2 state finals Saturday in Zeeland individually for the first time.
She is also a talented sprinter, finishing third in the 100-meter dash at regionals — missing a state qualifying berth by just one place with a season-best time of 13.19 seconds.
Martenis followed up her record-setting performance by winning the Flint Metro League long jump title at Fenton five days later. She placed first with a leap of 16-7 3/4.
“That was a big deal, too,” Martenis said. “That was the first time I’ve ever medaled in the Flint Metro League,”
Martenis also made the Owosso record book last year, helping Owosso’s 400-meter relay team set a school record in 51.09 seconds. The team — which also included Katie Clevenger, Malyrie Montroy and Molly Hart — ended up placing ninth in the Division 2 state finals.
“It was a very emotional day,” she said. “We had been very close to making it to states my sophomore year and we just missed it. The whole season last year, we were just planning on going to the states.”
Martenis will finish her high school career with 10 varsity letters. She will attend Alma College this fall as a member of the Scots cheer team. She plans to study pre-dentistry.