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by Sara Welch | Reporter
Columbus -- Just qualifying to compete in the high jump at Ohio State University's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium June 6 was a dream come true for Marra Woods.
Making it on the podium was a goal the Streetsboro senior had set for herself and a great conclusion to her high school career.
Woods took seventh in the high jump, clearing the bar at a height of 5 feet, 2 inches.
"It feels great to make the podium on my first trip here," Woods said. "That was my goal to at least get top eight and I got seventh, so that's better than what I expected.
"It was a beautiful day and it was a good meet. There are a lot of nice people here -- a lot of good people here. I've never seen so many people that could jump so high. I feel like it's a good way to end my senior season."
Coming into the state meet, Woods' strategy was to have no misses until the bar reached 5-2.
Clearing the bar every time before that crucial height ended up paying off.
Woods finished just ahead of eighth-place finisher Savannah Teter of Girard, who topped Woods at the Austintown Division II regional meet and brought home a championship.
"I felt like I jumped well. I've cleared 5-3 a couple times and I wish I could have cleared 5-3 [June 6]," Woods said. "I just couldn't get over it, but I reached my goal."
The biggest difference the state meet presented for Woods was one she expected, but shocked her all the same.
She knew the competition in Columbus would be tough, she knew she would be pushed and she knew she would face the most gifted jumpers in Ohio.
However, Woods wasn't prepared for the feeling of so many jumpers still competing as the bar got higher.
Fewer competitors fell off and the effect was intimidating, yet exhilarating for Woods.
"Usually the bar is way lower and competitors fall out of the competition way earlier," Woods said. "There were five people still left when the bar was at 5-5, so it was a lot tougher. It was different for me, but it was exciting."
This year's state champion, Paula Wollenslegel of Clyde, cleared the bar at a height of 5-8.
All in all, Woods is satisfied with her performance this season, breaking a school record, winning the Portage Trail Conference championship and making her first-ever trip to state a memorable one. She owes her success to the increased advantage her confidence has given her.
"In the past years, I haven't been as confident," Woods said. "I think that has had a big impact on how successful I've been able to be this year. This year, I've been much more confident in myself and it has paid off."