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Alexandria the Great

Local high jumper is ranked No. 2 in U.S.

Posted: July 21, 2008 1:01 a.m.
Updated: September 21, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Alexandria Florent, an 11-year-old from Valencia qualified for the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics and the AAU Junior Olympics in the high jump.

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At the age of 11, Alexandria Florent has already begun the second stage of her young track career. A heel injury has forced the pre-teen to switch from sprints to high jump.

So far, however, the 5-foot-6-inch Mountain View Elementary student is doing very well. Very well, indeed.
According to www.eliteyouth.com, she is currently the No. 2-ranked high jumper in the country. And, on Friday in Omaha, Neb., in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, Florent will compete for a gold medal in the 11-12 year-old age group.

On July 30, at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics in Detroit, Mich., the girl who grew up in Valencia will compete in that competition as well. The USATF has more than 40 competitors, the AAU event more than 45.

"Because I'm taller than the bar," Florent said, one of my coaches said I should be able to jump at least that height."

At her height, Florent is also taller than every person in her class. Most of the girls she competes against are 5 feet 4 inches or shorter. One of her doctors even said she may grow to 5 feet 11 inches, perhaps 6 feet 1 inch.

"They come up to me and they say, ‘You make me look short,' " Florent said.

During most of the track season, Florent was more of a runner than a jumper. Coming off a 2007 Junior Olympic performance in Walnut in which she anchored a bronze medal-winning 4 x 100-yard relay team, she ran in several events.

The 100-yard dash, the 200, the 4x100 and the high jump events all had Florent's name - more like heels - written all over it.

Right after the events, though, her heels flared up. Gradually, pain became a companion. She'd suffer through Sever's Disease, which involves inflammatory condition of the growth plate of the heel.

"On a scale of one to 10, the pain would be a seven," Florent said.

Florent qualified for USATF Junior Olympics finishing first in the AAU Regional meet and the USA Track and Field Association meet. She won the Cal State Games in Vista, jumping 4-8 1/4. She also won in Escondido with a leap of 4-4. Her personal-best jump is 4-11 3/4.

"She's at the 90th to 100th percentile for height," said Tarrell Florent, her father and volunteer coach of her track team.

According to her dad, Alexandria's knee injuries accompany the heel problems from time to time. But the pain over the course of a couple years may end up becoming a necessary evil for her.

"The doctors said it was a matter of time before she'd be fine," Tarrell Florent said. "That'd be great for us, no more physical therapy."

Florent also received the team's President's Award that is given to all athletes who maintain an ‘A' average throughout the year.

As for the youngster's career plans, he wants to become a veterinarian and wants to continue running track.

She also likes to read, draw and she has competed in synchronized swimming, basketball and volleyball.

She watches DVDs and has learned several different techniques, like the penultimate (second-to-last) step, where jumpers use their heel and toe to jump with more power.

"I want to break the AAU national record, jump 5-1," Florent added."

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