Athlete of the Week: Central’s Ryman having standout track season

Brooke Ryman

WOODSTOCK — When Brooke Ryman first started running track jumping wasn’t at the top of her list of favorite events.

The Central junior said once she gave it a chance she fell in love with the long jump and triple jump.

“I wasn’t the best back in middle school, but it’s where I started jumping,” Ryman said. “I didn’t want to be a jumper, and they said we’re going to put you in jumps and now look — now I’m really good at it.”

Ryman, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of May 8-14, won the long jump and triple jump in last week’s Bull Run District track and field championships.

She said she was a little surprised she was able to win both events, especially considering she was sick the day before the meet.

“Before (the meet) I was worried with the coughing and everything,” Ryman said. “I was worried about the breathing and being able to make sure that I could run quick enough to be out as far as I wanted to get out with my form. Because I have the height, but the running is also a huge factor in jumping. So I was a little worried about that, but it turned out all right.”

Central coach Rick Lytton said one of the things that helped Ryman in the meet was the location of the meet — Strasburg High School.

“She loves jumping at Strasburg, almost all of her really good meets she has had jumping-wise have been there,” Lytton said.

Lytton said that he believes that being a cheerleader really helps Ryman with her jumping ability.

“Her flexibilty — that’s the first thing that cheerleaders work on is being flexible,” Lytton said. “Brooke is, I’m sure, the most flexible kid on our track team.”

Ryman had a solid freshman season, but last year is when she really took a leap forward in the jumping events.

She qualified for the Group 2A state meet at Radford University and placed 10th in the long jump.

Ryman said that the experience she had at the state meet was a memorable one.

“States was just crazy,” Ryman said. “Being at Radford so many people in the stands it was just incredible. And I was feeling very pressured because I was the only girl from my school jumping, and no other guys except for Kyle (Clanton) were jumping either. So it was like the pressure was on both of us. And I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to, but this year I’m hoping to go back and place higher with better performances.”

In the offseason, Ryman said that she went to a camp at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and learned a lot.

Ryman said she’s also taken classes at Central that have helped her.

“I think just getting stronger from taking classes in school, weight training have really built up my body strength, and have helped me achieve more than I ever possibly would have thought,” Ryman said.

She’s had a strong season. She followed up her two wins in the Bull Run District meet with two more in Tuesday’s Conference 35 meet that was once again held at Strasburg. She won the triple jump with a new personal record of 16-11 and the long jump with a jump of 33-06.50.

Ryman also does sprints and placed sixth in the 100-meter dash (13.98) in Tuesday’s Conference 35 meet.

She is also part of Central’s 4×400 relay team, and she said she is really enjoying it.

“I just started the 4×4 relay this year,” Ryman said. “I absolutely love it. I think it’s one of my favorite events after the jumps.”

Ryman now has her sights set on next week’s Region 2A East meet at East Rockingham. She said she finished third in the long jump there last year, and wants to win the top prize this year.

“I really want to try and win it this year, because that would mean a lot to win it,” Ryman said. “I only placed in long last year, I really want to place in both this year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com