BOSTON, Mass. — The top female freshman high jumper in the country just so happens to be donning the Mount Anthony Patriots red, white and blue.
Ella Palisano solidified that status during New Balance Nationals at The Track At New Balance in Boston this past weekend, placing in a tie for eighth overall with her leap of 5 feet, 6 inches. That mark was only surpassed by event winner Alysa Carrigan, a junior, who leaped 5 feet, 8 inches to secure the title.
Palisano was one of two freshmen in the field of 61, joined by Ma’Syiah Brawner of Winslow Township High School in New Jersey. Brawner officially scored a no height.
No freshmen competed in the championship high jump at the Nike Indoor Nationals, which also held its national tournament over the weekend in New York City.
“For a freshman, she’s the highest one,” MAU coach Paul Redding said. “We’re very, very proud of her.”
The difference between Palisano finishing as runner-up and her ultimate slot of eighth place came down to misses. The MAU freshmen missed on her first two attempts at 5 feet, 6 inches before clearing the bar in her third and final try.
Redding said Palisano was hoping for a top-20 finish entering the weekend, though the Patriots coach is not surprised to see her crack the top-10.
“The bigger the stage, the better the performance for her,” Redding said. “She’s a big time performer. When the lights are bright, she shines bright.”
Palisano’s high school track story is just getting started. Indoor nationals officially ends her first of what will be eight total seasons between indoor and outdoor track. Redding is excited to continue to work with the MAU star over the coming years.
“She’s a better person than she is an athlete,” he said. “She’s a great kid.”