Two years ago Porschia Bennett was an emerging star in high school track and field.
A freshman at the time Bennett was a state medalist in the high jump for Towanda.
Last year was setting up to be a special year for Bennett.
Then, Covid hit and it shut down the spring sports season.
For some, that may have set back their career.
For Bennett, it just drove her to even higher heights this year.
The very first meet of the year she came out and jumped 5-feet, 7-inches, to break the Black Knights school record. The old school record was by Meghan Morningstar at the state meet where she took second.
Twice since then Bennett has hit 5-feet, 6-inches.
“It sucked (last year being canceled),” Bennett said. “But, I was ready to finally jump.
And, while many may have taken time off last year, Bennett kept working.
Ever since her freshman year ended, she went to work to get better.
“I went to a Penn State camp right after freshman season, then I started working hard before track started,” Bennett said. “The coaches, they really help everybody.”
To get the school record was something that Bennett has been trying for her whole career.
“I was so excited, It was crazy,” Bennett said. “I have wanted it since freshman year. With the season off it was hard, but I came in strong and put my mind to it and I got it.”
Working at heights like this is fun for Bennett, but she also knows it is tough when you get this high to keep staying there, and improving.
“I am really excited, just really nervous,” Bennett said. “It’s really nerve wracking once you get to higher heights.”
While she is already jumping at a high level, Bennett knows there is a lot to do to get better.
“We have been trying to lengthen my run and that really helps a lot,” Bennett said. “After the year off I came back and my form actually looked better, and that’s weird. But, it’s a lot of work to get the technique right.”
One of the biggest keys for any jumper is consistency.
Bennett has been consistent throughout her career, now she’s trying to consistently stay at even higher heights.
“Usually I get like 5-5 consistently, so I’m trying to get to 5-7 consistently,” Bennett said.
The NTL has another state level jumper as Williamson’s Charly Slusser is a two-time state qualifier.
For Bennett, it’s nice to have another person in the league to jump with.
“It’s nice to have the competition and me and Charly have talked at times, so we are kind of good friends,” Bennett said.
This year is a tough year as most of the season is dual meets in the NTL, without big invites in the area, and not many tri-meets even.
But, Bennett has coaches who are working to get her the best competition they can, and she did head down to Shippensburg for an invite this year.
“They are trying to do everything they can, because we don’t have invites,” Bennett said. “So they are trying to find me anything outside the NTL they can. It’s awesome, I love having these coaches, they help so much.”
The support for Bennett isn’t just from the Towanda track and field team. Her coaches and teammates in basketball and soccer have joined her family and friends in supporting her successes in the high jump.
“It’s awesome, they really help and it helps me a lot to do better when they are there,” Bennett said.
It’s crazy for Bennett to realize that the last season she was jumping she was a freshman, now she’s an upperclassman.
“I like helping the younger kids and helping them with the high jump,” Bennett said. “I was just thinking about that the other day. It’s crazy.”
With her success Bennett is starting to get more and more looks from college coaches.
“The day after they posted everything about my jump I had two college coaches talking to me on Twitter,” Bennett said. “It’s crazy, I can’t believe it (Bennett said of schools looking at her). I thought about it (competing in college) a lot.”
For Bennett, the chance to compete at a high level for college would be special.
“It would be awesome, I would have no words if that happened,” Bennett said.
College is something that may be in Bennett’s future, right now, she has some big goals this year.
If she goes 5-foot, 7-inches at districts, she would tie the district record, a record held by a former NTL star, Regan Rogers of Wellsboro. For Bennett, the idea of topping her career high, and breaking the record is something she’s though a lot about.
“I am going to work really hard,” Bennett said. “I really want it. I just have to work really hard to get it.”
And, it’s not just a district record that’s on her mind.
Bennett has been on the podium at states, but this year she’d love to be at the top of the podium.
“I am working so hard so I can get it,” Bennett said. “I want it (the state gold).