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After making State last year, Eng eyes continued improvement in triple jump


Gymnastics and cheerleading set Nixa junior Rylee Eng up for success in track, but also set back the start of her high school triple jump career by a year.

Eng underwent three surgeries two years ago for torn cartilage and torn tendons in a knee and shoulder, forcing her to sit out track season as a freshman. Her surgeries were triggered by numerous injuries she had endured while competing in gymnastics and taking part in competitive cheer.

“My body was wearing out at that time,” Eng said. “I felt like I wouldn't be able to come back to what I was like (before her surgeries), as far as being strong.”

Eng actually picked up where she left off. Upon returning to track last year, she qualified for State by placing fourth in the triple jump at Sectionals with a 37-5 1/4 and finished ninth at State with a personal record of 37-6.

“I didn't think I was going to get that far,” Eng said. “I progressed a lot throughout the season.”

Eng had just a year’s experience of triple-jumping prior to last year. Her seventh-grade season was wiped out due to COVID. As an eighth-grader, she took first in the triple jump at the COC Junior High Meet.

Eng took an immediate liking to the triple jump.

“I thought it was interesting,” she said. “The triple jump form is not normal. But I knew I had coordination.”

Eng had 10 years experience as a gymnast, having started when she was 2 years old. She was a standout in the all-around while representing Singularity Gymnastics.

Eng joins a long line of gymnasts who have gone on to enjoy success in track, with many of them taking naturally to the pole vault.

“I think gymnastics has helped me with 99 percent of everything I do athletically,” Eng said.

This season, Eng will give chase toward earning a medal at State and trying to overtake Meleah Ridenhour’s 2017 school record of 38-0 3/4.