The indoor track season is off to a flying start for Fairfield Ludlowe’s Tess Stapleton. Two weekends ago she became No. 1 in the country in the long jump with a distance of 19-5.5 at the Yale Invitational.
Stapleton followed that up with a win Saturday at the Virginia Showcase with a jump of 19-2, though she now has the third-best distance in the nation.
Stapleton has a wide variety of interests and has been a great contributor to The Ruden Report.
TRR: What is it like to know you are the best at something in the country?
TS: Unreal. It was I guess unexpected. That is another word I would use to describe it. Last year I was like 60th in the country and maybe made my way up to 30th. To be near the top of the list is not something I expected to happen right now. I was losing confidence in long jump because I did well last year in indoor but didn’t have a good outdoor season. Being toward the top of the U.S. list is crazy and it has given me a lot more confidence. That’s the biggest thing, the confidence. I put so much of my energy into hurdles because I got very frustrated with long jump because I wasn’t making the progress I wanted to. To see my hard work pay off has given me a new energy, a new drive.
TRR: Is there more pressure if you are not first trying to get to first, or if you are first and trying to stay there?
TS: Definitely to try and stay there. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to make it to the top of the list. But now that I’m here and people know your name and they are asking me where are you now, how are you going to be able to keep it. Because I did it so early in the season each day there are new meets and new people trying to come in and move me down a peg. So I definitely feel the pressure now.
TRR: What is the one thing that you have to give up while you are training and competing that you miss the most?
TS: Sleep (laughs). A little bit of free time. I definitely have less free time now training in New York on Tuesdays and Thursdays so it is really tough balancing my schoolwork and I get home pretty late. It does take a lot out of me and I do have to stay up late to finish assignments. I have meets every Saturday and I take them very seriously so Friday nights I don’t want to go out. I need get in the zone. Saturday nights I’m exhausted. So it definitely takes some of my social life away. In the end it is worth it.
TRR: If not in the long jump what would you most want to be No. 1 in the country at?
TS: Musical theater. That is always going to be one of my biggest passions. I love it. I’m obsessed with it. When I’m not competing or in school I sing all the time. I go to six or seven Broadway plays a year. I’m obsessed with musical theater. If I could really be really good at something it would be that.”
TRR: What is something you get teased the most about by your friends and teammates?
TS: One of the things they tease me about is I’m one of the fastest on the team but I’m the slowest at everything else. Any time we’re trying to go anywhere I just take forever. When we are trying to get our stuff together for a meet I’m always the last one to make the bus. They tease me about that. In anything other than my events I’m the slowest.