A tape measure and two sticks might sound like the beginning of a primitive structure. For Nadia Lorencz, it represents a lofty goal.
The stick farthest away sits 19 feet, 2 inches from the start of the tape measure, representing the state record for the girls' long jump.
"When I heard the number, it seemed so far away," Lorencz said.
Six inches in front of the 19-2 marker, the other stick signifies Lorencz's personal best leap, set at last year's section meet.
"I want that so bad and now it doesn't seem so far," the Farmington junior said of the record mark. "But I just want to get better. Whether it's one inch or .01 seconds. I've been told to be happy but never satisfied."
At the Hamline Elite Meet two weeks ago, Lorencz was far from either.
She entered the meet, designated for the top performers in each track and field event so far this spring, with the top qualifying marks in the long jump (18-4), triple jump (37-2) and 100-meter hurdles (14.97 seconds).
She failed to take home the gold in any of the events, finishing second in both field events and a disappointing eighth in the hurdles.
"It would have been nice to win one of those at least," Tigers coach Tom Hart said. "But so be it. And that's where we left it. She has very high goals for herself and [that] wasn't her final shot."
Lorencz picked up gymnastics at a young age. She gave up the rigors of club team pressure in fifth grade, not long after her family relocated to Maryland. When her family moved back to Minnesota in 2009, she first tried out for track and field as a freshman at Farmington, then rejoined gymnastics last winter.
"I loved to do flips and stuff when I was growing up, so gymnastics definitely worked for me," she said. "It was a perfect sport for me, but it just got a little too intense. I love high school gymnastics way more."
Lorencz finished 10th in the vault at the state meet this winter.
She got into track and field almost by accident, joining only because she was told she was fast. Turns out she's far more athletic than that.
"I haven't had an athlete like her in 20 years of coaching," said Hart, who calls Lorencz "elastic girl" when she jumps. "She's just a natural. A lot of things she tries she'll be very, very good at."
For little more than fun, Hart entered Lorencz into the pole vault event at a recent meet. She cleared 9-6 without breaking a sweat.
"Not a whole lot of kids can just go out there and perform," Hart said.
Lorencz relishes on a big stage -- the bigger, the better -- but isn't ready to branch out too far.
"I'd love to throw in an event," she said laughing, then added, "maybe in a JV meet."
For now, the focus centers on returning to the varsity state meet. She placed second a year ago in the long jump and the 100 hurdles.
"I know I'm not going to have my best meet every time," she said. "But I've always been driven to be the best I can be."
Brian Stensaas • 612-673-4127