She didn't let herself limp during competition, but Brenda Pereyra Perez of the Central Crossing High School girls track and field team had a walking boot on her left foot moments after completing the long jump during the Division I state meet June 8 at Ohio State.
Having run and jumped in spite of a stress fracture in her right fibula for about half the season, Pereyra Perez was determined to finish what she started. She jumped 15 feet, 11 inches and placed 14th.
"I do not feel good, but I don't mind because this was everything this week," she said. "This (performance was) not good for me. My mom told me not to worry since I have the injury in my leg, but still I'm mad. It's not normal to me. I came up short."
Pereyra Perez, who set a school record in the long jump with her district 3 title effort of 17-2 1/2, went 14-3 on her first jump then 15-8 3/4 and 15-11.
Big Walnut junior Olivia Small won (19-8 3/4), a week after winning the regional with an 18-10 effort.
Chesterland West Geauga's Chantel Richardson also jumped 19-8 3/4, but the tie was broken by each girl's second-best jump. Small's was 19-8 1/2, ahead of Richardson's 19-3.
The Comets did not score as Solon (47) won the team championship.
"Brenda was getting into the groove after she warmed up some, but her leg has just been sore," coach Doug Boggs said. "She's spent a long time in a boot without workouts. It may have fooled with her a little bit today, but she did well. She represented our school (and was the) first (state qualifier) here in a long time for us, which is exciting."
Pereyra Perez was only the second Comets girl to make state as an individual since the school opened in 2002. Jordan Kennedy finished 15th in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 20.08 seconds) in 2007.
The previous Central Crossing representative at state had been Matt Shaffer, who was 12th in the boys 800 (1:55.21) in 2009.
Boggs said his hopes for Pereyra Perez to make state her senior year began last year, when she earned a regional berth in the 400 and finished 11th (1:01.11).
"Our focus was on the 400 coming into this season, but she really came out fast in the 100," Boggs said. "She was at 12.5 for a long time until she stopped being able to practice (because of her injury). If she was healthy, I think she would have been able to run in district and she'd have qualified in the (100, 200, 400) and long jump, but her leg still hurt and she'd already won district in the long jump."
Pereyra Perez, who plans to attend Ohio Dominican University and participate in track and field, would have run all her events if she had her way.
"My doctor wanted me to stop, but I had something I wanted to accomplish," she said. "If I start something, I want to finish. I was going to stay here, practicing. If somebody asked me if this hurts, I'll tell them 'Yes, it hurts.' But I wanted to try. I had to go out fighting."