De Carvalho wins first place in high jump at indoor State Championships


Kate DiTullio

Senior Priscilla de Carvalho earned the first place title in high jump at the Division 2 Massachusetts State Championships on Feb. 20, 2022.

Meredith Sainsbury, Staff Writer

Senior Priscilla de Carvalho took a leap of faith when she cleared 5’2” to earn the first place title in high jump at the Division 2 Massachusetts State Championships on Feb. 20.

De Carvalho, who also competed in hurdles and the 4x200m relay at States, was confident going into the State Championships, but did not expect the outcome, as she was originally seeded sixth. At the meet, she cleared 4’10” on her first try. She then missed her first two tries at five feet, but got it on the third. Lastly, she cleared 5’2” on her first try, which gave her a leg up on her opponents.

“I went to the official and said, ‘Oh, it looks like we’re gonna go into a jump-off right?’ and he said, ‘Actually, no, you’re winning right now since you had misses at five feet but were clear at 5’2”, so you’re ahead,’” de Carvalho said.

When de Carvalho found out she won, she was ecstatic. The runner-up then hugged her and was very happy for her.

“It was a really good moment because it didn’t feel like a rivalry,” de Carvalho said. “It just felt like my hard work was paying off.”

De Carvalho said she had an unexpected rough start to the season because she wasn’t performing the way she wanted to, which made this win feel even more meaningful to her.

De Carvalho is a three-season athlete, was a lead in the school musical this fall and recently sang the National Anthem before the girls’ hockey State Championship win at TD Garden. She started track in eighth grade and in ninth grade, found her talents in high jump and stuck with it, despite the event’s challenges. 

“It’s a waiting game, so then it becomes a mental game, and that’s the hardest part to not get in your own head,” de Carvalho said.

Initially, when she started high jump, she was nervous about jumping over a pole backward and off one foot. But just like anything, the more she practiced it, the less nerve-wracking it became to her. 

“Trust your training,” de Carvalho said. “You have to let your body do what it knows what to do.”

During the indoor track season, she competes in the 55m hurdles, high jump and the 4x200m relay. Now, during the outdoor track season, she competes in the 100m hurdles, triple jump and various relays.

“I still have work to do, working towards nationals and towards the outdoor season,” de Carvalho said.

De Carvalho says track has taught her the value of friendship and teamwork. Track is a team sport, whether it is teammates cheering for each other or physically running together at practice or on a relay team. 

All of my best friends are on the track team because you spend so much time together and you really grow together,” de Carvalho said.

De Carvalho’s high jump coach, Ken Morin, has seen her progression throughout the years. 

“If you go through the four years, it’s an immense change,” Morin said. “Through the growth of developing those techniques and growing athletically, getting stronger, getting quicker, I’ve seen huge changes.”

Morin explained how high jump and hurdles are extremely technical events, as it is unnatural for athletes at first. But de Carvalho has worked hard to improve in these events and get to where she is today.

“She is able to take coaching really well and implement it into her technique, and on meet days, get right to it,” Morin said.

Morin appreciates de Carvalho as a person, not just an athlete.

“The best part about coaching period is meeting people,” Morin said. “Priscilla is a really good person. She’s that type of person to make you feel important in her world, and it’s nice to know that you’re a part of her circle.” 

De Carvalho, who is a two-time captain of outdoor track, takes her role seriously. 

“You must keep a positive attitude for athletes even when you personally have a bad race,” de Carvalho said. “You must put that aside and encourage others, especially for the younger track athletes.”

Her biggest hopes for the outdoor season are keeping her win streak, beating Wachusett Regional High School and ending her final senior year season with more titles.