Kate Hall has experienced success at the national level before, but this weekend, she said, provided her greatest moments yet in track and field.

Hall, a Casco native and junior at the University of Georgia, won her second NCAA long jump title Friday at the Division I indoor championships at College Station, Texas. On Saturday, she also earned All-America honors in the 60 meters, helping the Bulldogs win their first national title.

Georgia, which completed a historic 1-2-3 sweep in the long jump, finished with 61 points. Kentucky was second with 49. Only seven athletes scored for the Bulldogs.

“It couldn’t have been better,” Hall said Sunday before flying to Maine for a week off during school break. “I am super proud of my teammates. To win with such a small group, just seven girls, that is super cool. Most teams have a big group. This was my coach’s dream to win NCAA. It was one of my goals.”

Hall broke the 22-foot barrier for the first time indoors with her school-record mark of 22 feet, 1 inch. She finished sixth in the 60 meters in 7.24 seconds after running a school-record time of 7.17 in the preliminary round Friday.

National honors are nothing new for Hall, who was the NCAA outdoor champion in the long jump last spring. While competing for Lake Region High School, she won two national high school long jump titles and broke a 39-year-old U.S. high school record in the event as a senior in 2015.

In Friday’s long jump, Hall went 21-6.25 on her first attempt and 21-11.5 on her second before soaring 22-1 on her third jump.

“My speed was good, my take-off was good, I got the whole board,” Hall said. “I got the whole board the whole meet. I was super excited. Coach (Petros Kyprianou) didn’t want me to take my last three jumps but it’s my event. I wanted to try to jump farther. But after five jumps I knew I had the win, so I (passed on the final jump) to save it for the 60, and hopefully to score more points for my team.”

Teamate Keturah Orji, a senior and the American record-holder in the triple jump, took second at 21-4.75. Tara Davis, a freshman, was third at 21-4. It marked the first time a school had swept the event at the NCAA indoor championships.

Hall said running the trials in the 60 meters an hour before her long jump Friday night set her up well for a good jump. She was excited by a personal best of 7.17 in the 60, which she doesn’t train for full-time.

“I had a really good start and that was my goal,” Hall said. “At the (Southeastern Conference championship meet) I ran 7.22 and ran a good race, but it wasn’t really my best start. I knew if I got out fast, I’d run faster.”

Hall was seeded third going into the 60-meter finals.

“In that 60, she was 3 to 4 feet ahead of everyone in the first 10 to 20 meters,” said Eric Hall, Kate’s father, who was in the stands near the starting line during the trials heat.

“If she runs a fast 60, you can expect a good performance from her in the long jump. She was pumped.”

Hall, who is a Type 1 diabetic with celiac disease, has to strictly manage her blood-sugar levels.

Type 1 diabetes, which affects 3 million Americans, requires monitoring blood-sugar levels with daily blood tests that makes competing in sports difficult. With increased activity, blood-sugar levels drop when muscles use up sugar. When blood-sugar levels are too low, muscles perform poorly.

For the first time at an NCAA championship meet, Hall used an Apple Watch to monitor her blood-sugar level. So rather than prick her finger several times during the meet, she only needed to look at the Apple Watch, which read the insulin pack attached to her stomach. On the watch, Hall could see where her blood-sugar level was trending and adjust.

Hall had to get permission to use the watch from the NCAA, which doesn’t allow iPhones or Apple Watches to be used in competition.

The NCAA decided to make an exception for Hall because of her diabetes.

“They were able to see my blood-sugar goes up and down, and that I need insulin,” Hall said. “So they let me use it.”

Jennifer Hall, Kate’s mother, who also attended the meet with Kate’s 7-year-old brother, Cameron, said her daughter started using the Apple Watch in January.

She said it’s removed significant stress for Kate at meets.

“She’s pretty low key,” Jennifer Hall said. “She knows exactly when to eat around when she’s going to compete. But this is so much better. She doesn’t have to prick her finger six to eight times during the meet.”

As Hall waited for a flight to Maine on Sunday, she said she was right where she wanted to be in her collegiate and track career.

“It’s one of my best meets ever,” Hall said. “I’ve never jumped over 22 indoors. It’s different than outdoors. I do better on the outdoor tracks. And I ran super fast in the 60 without even really training for it. The past four meets I have run my four fastest 60s ever.”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph

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