Kristen Judge has at least one more trick left up her sleeve.
Heading into the biggest meet of the year for the Penn women’s track and field team this weekend, the senior high jumper enters her final Penn Relays brimming with confidence and hoping to etch her name further into the Penn record books.
No matter what happens, it has already been a magical season.
Judge has cemented herself as one of the Red and Blue’s all-time greats with her high jump of 1.75 meters in a dual meet against Princeton on April 14, tying the school record set by Nicole Maloy in 1994.
Comparatively, Judge’s 1.70-meter performance — good for third all-time at Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invitational on Saturday — almost seems like an afterthought.
The importance of back-to-back strong performances, though, is not lost on Judge.
“This past meet was definitely one of the best for me, height-wise,” Judge said. “It was kind of a huge moment.”
Coming off such success, the upcoming Penn Relays provide Judge with a chance to capitalize on the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Carnival has been kind to Judge in recent years.
A year ago, she posted a height of 1.68 meters, good for an 11th-place finish out of 36 competitors in the Relays’ Eastern Championship.
It was a slight improvement on her 2010 performance, as 1.67 meters that year earned her 13th out of 25 competitors.
Considering Judge’s momentum this year, her place on the leaderboard could skyrocket, as her record-tying jump of two weeks ago would have been enough to net her the Eastern Championship last season.
Judge is aware of the spectacle that has surrounded her in the past as she aims to improve on her best performances ever.
“It’s such a great event,” Judge said of the world’s largest track meet. “What I do remember is having so much more energy, so many more people being there … it’s such a higher-energy meet.”
As big as Penn Relays are, the senior has an array of even more important meets in the weeks that follow.
Ivy League Heptagonal Championships arrive the week after Penn Relays, and the ECAC Championships and NCAA Regional Championships follow Heps.
After that, though, it’s all over for Judge, who has been wrapping up an impressive resume with a season to remember.
The impending end of Judge’s collegiate career has afforded her an opportunity to look back on her time representing the Red and Blue.
“I couldn’t be happier with the entire career I’ve had with the Penn track team,” Judge said. “Just being an athlete at Penn … has been an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity that I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams of having when I was a senior in high school.”
If everything goes right this weekend, that dream just might have an even sweeter ending.
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