ACCS’ Nikki Worthey wins state championship in high jump

Published 12:19 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian rising sophomore Nikki Worthey didn’t set out to be a champion high jumper. It was something she just kind of fell into, or more appropriately, jumped into.

“I was just out here one day (at track practice) and coach (Dee Ray) wanted me to jump and see how I liked it,” Worthey, who was an eighth-grader at the time, said. “Obviously I was pretty good at it.”

Looking back at that day last year, Ray said Worthey stood out from everybody else who attempted the discipline.

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“I got them all out there and said ‘Just try and clear (the bar),’” Ray said. “I give her all the credit. She has worked hard to get better at it.”

That spring Worthey finished fifth in the MAIS Class AA State meet in the high jump.

This spring, as a freshman, she did even better, winning the event when she cleared the height of 5-feet-2-inches.

In fact, Worthey won every event she competed in last year except for South State, when she finished second while nursing a knee injury.

“Every meet she got better and better,” Ray said. “She would always clear a height higher than her last meet.”

And that improvement comes from lots of work each day.

“She is also the anchor leg of our relay team so she would run second period and then come and jump after school,” Ray said. “Track definitely is an individual sport and you have to really want to succeed in it. Nikki has that desire.”

And that comes from Worthey’s competitiveness and desire to win every event.

“I just like the idea of getting over the bar,” Worthey said. “I get competitive when people are out there doing it and I want to beat them.”

The scary part for other MAIS Class AA high jumpers is that Worthey is just scratching the surface of what she can do.

Ray said Worthey’s height (5-feet-9-inches) and her launching power make Worthey a good high jumper.

But Worthey’s technique still could use some improvement, and she has three more years to perfect that.

“She never really got her steps down,” Ray said. “She was chopping her steps before she would jump. When she gets that down, she should really clear some big heights.”

And one of those big heights might just be the MAIS state record, which is 5-feet-6-inches.

“I really want to break the state record,” Worthey said. “I’ve got four inches to go, so hopefully I can keep getting better and get it.”