Sadie McMullen stood tall at the top of the runway.
She tilted her forehead down ever so slightly, allowing her intense gaze to scan the blue track in front of her, which stretched down towards the end where the sand pit awaited her arrival.
Her hands dangled loosely by her sides in this brief moment of calm. Soon she'd tear down the runway before leaping wildly into the air, releasing this orb of tension into the world in one swift act.
This long jump runway was her canvass, and McMullen stood ready, paintbrush in hand, prepared to paint something beautiful.
The Valor Christian senior held her firm gaze as the world bent around her, everything falling into place. And when she felt the tides sync to her choosing, she took one step back, still eyeing that sandpit, her canvass, and she was off.
McMullen tore down the blue runaway, passing gated spectators in a flash. As she approached the dusty white line that signaled No Turning Back, she took flight, exploding upwards into the air in a moment almost as tranquil as the one at the top of the runway.
For a brief moment she flew, suspended above the sand. Her arms like wings lifted her up and up and up, circling back around. The next moment she came crashing down, sending off a shockwave of millions of specs of sand.
She stood quickly and turned to see her mark while dusting off her hands. Her eyes lightened as her once intense gaze softened to that of curiosity.
She knew it was a solid jump, but how far?
"19-1" the word rang out.
No big deal.
McMullen dusted off her hands once more in a move so nonchalant that the crowd seemed not to know what they had just witnessed.
It was the first jump of the night for her - and of the year - and right there, she already had a US No. 3 mark.
McMullen's jump was just one of a handful of top-tier performances inside a packed Steinhauer Field House Thursday night, as everyone was clearly ready to get back to business.
While the meet is generally a low-key affair, it was loaded with high-quality performances across the board.