Bishop Gorman’s Vashti Cunningham concedes she used to get nervous when people cheered for her at big events.
Now she’s learned to tune everything out.
Cunningham, before a crowd of spectators and video cameras, easily won two events at the Sunset Region track meet Saturday to become the day’s only two-event winner.
The second day of both the Sunset and Sunrise Region meets is May 9 at Del Sol.
“I used to get really nervous when people would cheer,” Cunningham said. “Now, I kind of tune everyone out because I don’t really like all the eyes on me. I’m not really an attention person.”
Cunningham, a junior, broke her own high jump meet record from last season by a foot after clearing 6 feet, 4 inches. She also was first in the long jump with a mark of 17-5.
“My dad just prepared me really well,” said Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham. “He basically just tells me what I’m doing right, wrong and what I need to change. He really boosts my confidence, even if I don’t do as well.”
Cunningham, who owns the national prep record in the high jump at 6-4¼, attempted to clear 6-5 but missed on all three of her attempts.
She will have one more opportunity this season — at state — to break the record mark she set on April 18 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
“Everyone’s sort of keeping a close eye now,” Cunningham said. “(Today) I was just thinking, ‘Oh, I already the broke new meet record, so now I can chill.’ But everyone still wants me to jump higher.”
In the long jump, Cunningham hit 17-5 on her first jump. She passed on the next five attempts, but won by 3½ inches over Palo Verde’s Cydnee Bush.
Green Valley’s Maddie Thurlow cleared 5-1 to take the Sunrise high jump.
Yamilei Rodriguez was first in the long jump (16-9) for the Gators.
“It feels really amazing,” Rodriguez said. “I was just expecting to make it to the finals and at least get second or third, but I got first. … I can’t look at it like a stagnant, standing point. I got 16-9, now I have to get 17.”
Silverado’s Monet Salazar easily took the discus in the Sunrise meet, with a mark of 131-0. Liberty’s Litia Ortquist was second (112-0).
Desert Oasis’ Tawny Rodriguez won the Sunset discus by throwing 126-7.
Centennial, which is looking for its eighth consecutive region title, leads the Sunset with 23½ points. Silverado is first in the Sunrise with 30.2 points.