|Roberts goal is to set personal best at state meet|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 9, 2005 - SALTILLO - Whether Chloe Roberts is high jumping in the solitude of the Saltillo gymnasium or in front of 20,000 fans at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin, her coach and grandfather wants her to remember one thing: the cross bar is the same height.
Roberts has had plenty of opportunities in her gym. At high noon on Saturday, she will get a chance at the UIL State Track and Field Meet on the University of Texas campus.
She finished second at the Class A, Region III meet to qualify for the state competition.
"I've just told her to do her best to treat it like any other meet," said David Murphy, her coach and grandfather. "When the competition starts, it's you and seven other girls. You can't get so caught up in the emotions of it that you don't remember you've still got standards and a cross bar and other competitors that you're competing against - that's what you've got to focus on.
"All those people and all the excitement of the meet should help you jump higher."
Roberts goes into the competition with a qualifying height of 4 feet, 10 inches she cleared at regional, though she has a personal best of 5-0. The regional conditions were not favorable for high jumping.
She has a goal of 5-2 at state, which could get her a medal. At least two of the girls have cleared 5-4 or better, including regional champion Ebbonye Johnson of North Hopkins, who went 5-5 the previous week.
"I really want to clear 5-2. I'd like to medal, but I just really want to get better every time I jump," Roberts said.
She has had to compete through a knee problem that flared up and caused her to scale down her schedule of events to just the high jump and discus. She was District 21-A champ in both events and qualified for regional in both even though she had not thrown the discus before this year.
"Over the years, she's been a multiple-event girl," Murphy said. "She's usually been in five events, then she started having some knee problems - jumper's knee they call it. It pains her when she does triple jump and long jump, and even when she does an awful lot of working out like repeat sprints.
"That knee has bothered her enough that we just narrowed it down to high jump, which she loves to do. This year, she asked to throw the discus, which she had never done. Next year, she wants to get back in everything. Hopefully, it will be better by then, because it's come around some the last few months."
Along with multiple track events, Roberts is a multiple-sport athlete as well. She was the district Newcomer of the Year in basketball as a freshman at Avinger before she transferred to Saltillo, and she helped the Lady Lions to a bi-district berth this year. She also plays softball.
She has been high jumping since the seventh grade. She has worked in her track practice around the other sports, and her perseverance paid off when she tied three other girls at regional and advanced due to fewer misses.
"I knew I had a chance to go to state, but I never really imagined myself going," she said. "I wanted to really bad, but then when I actually found out I made it, I was ecstatic.
"We worked real hard to get there. Last year, I went to regional and choked. This year, I had more self-confidence going into it."
Now, she's going back to the state meet - she went once as a toddler.
"I'm excited, very excited," Roberts said. "I went when I was about 4-years-old, but I don't remember it."
Her grandfather then chimed in, "You'll remember this one."