High School Sports

Independent's Liu gets through pain for victory

Sand kept getting caught in the bandage used to protect Tina Liu's recently created track wounds.

But Liu, a Wichita Independent junior, ignored the pain to win the Class 3A triple jump title at the Kansas track and field championships Saturday with a jump of 38 feet, 2 1/2 inches. It was enough to beat defending champion Julia Zeiner of Marion, whose best was 37-8 3/4.

"For the triple jump, it kind of stung running through the runway, but I guess it kind of got me more awake," Liu said. "I tried not to let it affect me too much. It just stings."

An hour and a half earlier, Liu took a nasty fall in the 100-meter finals. She leaned at the finish line to try to bat teammate Imani Feener, but lost her balance and the result was exposed flesh on both legs and her right palm. Liu finished second.

"I didn't know who won that race... I looked to the scoreboard and say that our girls were one and two in that, and I turned back around and saw Tina laying on the track," Independent coach Eric Swenson said. "I knew that she had stumbled, but I didn't realize how bad her injuries were."

Feener helped her teammate up and over to the awards podium, and it was apparent that she was hurting.

"Her first jump in the triple jump, she landed and took an easy landing," Swenson said. "I could tell she was babying her legs a little bit because usually sails out on the landing. She knew that she had messed up, I didn't say anything."

Liu recovered mentally get three jumps of 38 feet.

"On the second jump, she went all out and landed, and you could see the sand get all packed up in the bandages," Swenson said. "She was trying to dig it out, and it was hurting. I yelled at her, 'Shake it off. Don't worry about it. Don't let that get in your head.' She shook her head and just kept jumping and didn't think about it after that. It showed."

Liu admitted the fall looked bad, and she did lose a lot of skin, but she wasn't going to miss any of her remaining events.

"For the triple jump it kind of stung running through the runway," Liu said. "But I guess it kind of got me more awake. I tried not to let it affect me too much. It just stings."

Liu ran the anchor leg in the 400 relay and Independent finished third.