When Haddon Heights senior Emily Carson heard her long-jump distances announced Friday, she sighed audibly and took on a determined look.
She finished second at the South Jersey Group 2 track and championships at Buena, but the jump that measured 17 feet, 1 inch did not match her expectations after she went 19-4 at last week's Haddonfield Invitational.
Carson carried that demeanor throughout the afternoon, each stride seemingly more demonstrative than the last and looking increasingly serious.
But when she came away from the 100-meter dash, she emerged with a laugh and a smile, winning Group 2 with a time of 12.25 seconds.
"I was just angry at myself," said Carson, who will attend Notre Dame in the fall. "When I got down there, I focused. I just closed my eyes and visualized the race.
"It was a good way to end the day, especially because I was so frustrated after the long jump. I'm leaving happy."
Bridgeton senior Braheme Days' return to the sectional finals did not bring back any memories of great times or achievements even though he set the South Jersey Group 2 discus record as a sophomore, when he threw it 177-5.
The reason he lacked any nostalgia was that he had no idea he held the record.
He learned of his achievements Friday, however, when he set a new mark of 185 feet.
"I had no idea," said Days, a UCLA recruit. "I wasn't thinking anything about a meet record until the official said it."
Days overcame difficult conditions, which included rain, wind, and unseasonably low temperatures.
"Buena is very soggy, like swampland, even when the sun is out," Days said. "When you add on top of that the wind, the cold, and the rain, it doesn't make for a very nice competition.
"I just had to pretend that it wasn't 48 degrees and raining."
Unlike Days, Winslow Township senior McGrath knew her previous experiences entering the Group 3 long-jump final. She won the event as a freshman and failed to compete the last two years because of injuries.
McGrath finished second, behind teammate Cidae'a Woods (17-8), with a jump of 17-3, three inches better than her mark as a freshman.
"It was redemption," she said.
Winslow Township had three of the top seven finishers in the long jump, including Gabrielle Bennett.
"We're a family," McGrath said. "We all push each other to do the best we can do. We all care for each other, help each other."