If you had suggested to Carrie Feltkamp at the beginning of the season that she would make it to the state meet, she probably wouldn't have believed you.
This was the Lynbrook senior's first time on a track team. She had never set foot on a long jump runway before this season, much less know how to long jump.
But Wednesday night Feltkamp put an exclamation point on a surprising indoor season.
Feltkamp leapted 17-63/4 on her final attempt of the night to win the long jump in the Section VIII State Qualifiers at St. Anthony's and advance to the state meet. Feltkamp edged Kaitlyn Kieser of Clarke (17-6) by three-quarters of an inch to take the victory.
"I didn't think it would happen," she said. "But here I am."
Both Feltkamp and Kieser will compete at the state meet on March 3 at Cornell University.
As the last jump of the finals cycled through, it looked as if Kieser's jump would secure her the win. But Feltkamp, who won the Class B long-jump title, came through on her last jump to take the victory.
"We've been going back and forth all season, and it's always been a quarter of an inch or so between the two of us," she said. "So I knew everything was relying on that jump."
Not bad for someone who was in her debut track season. After taking the past three winters to rest up from soccer and prepare for lacrosse, Feltkamp was convinced by Lynbrook track coach Joe Beyrer to join the team for one season.
"We knew she was an athlete," Beyrer said. "So I went to the lacrosse coach and asked if she could join our team."
Feltkamp agreed to join and made an instant impact, breaking a 10-year-old school record in just her second meet.
"I never gave it much thought before this winter," she said. "But it's going to be exciting to compete up in states."
An added bonus for Feltkamp: By qualifying for states, the Cornell-bound senior will get to see her new college digs a few months in advance.
"I'm just going to go up there, have fun, and try to do well," she said. "I have nothing to lose."