The junior followed up her indoor state championship from this past winter by winning the outdoor state title on Saturday.
By Brandon Folsom HometownLife.com
This time it felt more rewarding.
Not to say that winning a state championship doesn't feel rewarding. Because it surely did when Farmington Hills Mercy junior Milena Chevallier won the indoor track and field state championship in the high jump last winter.
But doing so again during the outdoor season proved that all of her hard work had paid off. Plus, she was able to test her mettle against some of the best athletes in the state who play other sports such as basketball, hockey and gymnastics, among other things, during the winter and weren't on hand at the indoor state finals.
Yeah, Chevallier did it. She recorded a personal best of 5 feet, 11 inches to take first place in the high jump during the Division 1 girls track and field state championship Saturday at Rockford.
She bested Salem junior Madison Morson by just 1 inch, which is impressive enough. Not only was Morson the state runner-up in the event a year ago but the 5-foot-8 shooting guard was also one of the best basketball players last winter. Morson was named Hometown Life's Player of the Year after leading the Rocks to the state semifinal, and many are predicting her to be one of the few players nominated for next season's Ms. Basketball honor.
And that's what Chevallier appreciated about Saturday's victory. Morson didn't jump against her in the wintertime. She was too busy leading the Rocks to one of their best seasons in program history. Competing against Morson made it extra special for Chevallier.
"I know a lot of athletes were dual-sport athletes in the winter, but I do full-time club season in the winter," Chevallier, who competes with the Michigan Racers club program, told Hometown Life on Sunday night. "And, honestly, it did help to get a few months ahead of everyone else by doing indoor. But with Madi jumping 5-10, and I jumped 5-11, it was still really close. And I loved competing with her. A lot of time I'm jumping by myself, and it's just hard to get motivation when you're competing with yourself. I loved the competitive aspect of it."
Isn't that the truth?
Chevallier won the high jump in every meet she competed in this past spring except for one runner-up effort during an invitational at nearby Farmington. That included her winning the Catholic League Bishop championship as well as Oakland County and D-1 regional championships.
She wasn't challenged too often.
But, to be honest, it hasn't always been easy for Mercy's star jumper.
Chevallier used to put most of her effort into running cross country. Distance races were her thing. Until she tried out the high jump as a sophomore and quickly fell in love with the event. Hours and hours of practicing the high jump in Mercy's basement made her competitive throughout the indoor season. Her personal best entering the state championship was 5 feet, 8 inches. She walked out of there with a state title, but she jumped 2 inches shy of her PR and had hopes of improving before the spring season started.
"At the time of indoor my coach and I were messing around with my steps and stuff, but the result was there," Chevallier said. "Honestly, indoor season, I think it was interesting because I only cleared 5-6 at indoor states, and I found it funny I won it. And I was still new to the whole sport. It's been a lot of training and trial and error. But it ended up working out."
Yes, Chevallier hopes to sign with a Division I college team before she graduates next school year. And, yes, she still plans on signing up for cross country despite spending the rest of her free time training for the high jump. Part of it is her coaches want her to stay in peak physical condition, and running will help her do that. And the other part is Chevallier still has a lot of friends on the cross-country team.
But she still has plenty she wants to accomplish before she becomes a senior.
This summer she will be competing for the Racers again. She hopes to clear 6 feet, 2 inches by September.
And the top-tier competition she'll face along the way? Well, that's just extra motivation for her to get better.
"That's why I feel like I like the outdoor state meet more because it's just a lot more competitive," she added. "With the indoor season, athletes are doing other sports and you're not getting the best competition. To me, winning the outdoor was the real deal."
Brandon Folsom covers high school sports in metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.