It’s often said that you can’t be in two places at once. Don’t tell that to Annie Breger. In a dual meet against Salinas on March 22, the San Benito High senior found herself in an adrenaline-pumping situation. As Breger prepared for an attempt in the long jump, she overheard two of her coaches, Ryan Shorey and Wes Finley, shouting that she needed to get over to her spot as the anchor leg of the San Benito girls 4×100-relay team.
The two events were going on at virtually the same time, and Breger waited until the very last second to get to her relay spot because she felt something special was going to happen in the long jump. Breger was dead-on in her assessment, as she nailed a huge personal-record (PR) in the event, going 18 feet to shatter her previous best by 1 foot, 1 inch.
The only thing was, Breger wouldn’t find out how far she had gone until after the 4×100 race.
“I knew I had to do one more jump because I could feel it,” she said. “When I jumped, I knew it was a good one.”
By the time Breger got out of the pits, the 4×100 relay race had already started. Breger sprinted over to her spot where the rest of the anchor legs were, and moments later received the baton and crossed the finish line first to help clinch a victory for the four-member squad that includes Shaelynne Smith, Jenette Cabrera and Clarissa Corona.
“I was dead tired, but in the back of my mind I was wondering what my long jump mark was,” she said. “I jogged back to the pit and coach said I got an 18-1. It was pretty awesome. Now that I think about it, I can’t believe it. … The fact that I knew I had to run the 4×100 so close after the long jump got my adrenaline pumping. I don’t get very anxious when I have to jump, but for sprinting events, it gets my blood pumping.”
It’s been a strong season for Breger, who also established a PR in her best event, the triple jump, going 37-1 in a dual meet against North Monterey County on March 15. The jump was nearly two years in the making, as Breger’s previous PR came during her sophomore season. Before she took off on her approach, Breger distinctly remembers thinking she had to be aggressive.
At the beginning of the season, Breger and her coach talked about switching to a double-arm movement instead of relying on her single arm movement. Breger used the double arm on her PR jump, and hasn’t gone back to the single arm since.
“On that jump, I thought, ‘Hey, why not try the double arm and see where it would take me,’” she said. “If I get enough power into it and stay consistent, then the double arm definitely works in my favor because it brings more momentum for my jump.”
Breger has also been working on some key technical aspects of the long jump.
“I’m definitely working on getting good extension at the end, getting off the board and making sure my legs meet up with each other,” she said. “In the past and still this year, my legs are not always where I want them to be, so I can’t get full on extension and the most hang time in the air.”
If Breger keeps her form sound, she’ll be hitting more PRs in both events when it counts the most—at the league and CCS championships. Technical aspects aside, Breger knows it’s equally if not more important to stay focused mentally.
“I’ve learned to stay mentally focused and mentally aware, so even if I have an off day it’s not much of an off day as it would’ve been freshman or sophomore year,” she said. “I’ve noticed my marks this year are staying really consistent. When it gets to the big meets like Arcadia, I have to stay in that right mindset, think it will all come together and shake things off if things aren’t going well.”
Breger’s brother, Jack, has also been downright spectacular this season. Jack Breger set a school record in the 100-meter dash in the St. Francis Invitational on March 17, taking first in a loaded field in 10.75 seconds. Annie was there to cheer her fraternal twin on and couldn’t have been prouder.
“That was an amazing moment and something we’ll never forget,” Annie said. “When the announcer said his name and time, we turned to each other and smiled. I ran up to him and gave him a huge hug, and was so happy for him.”
In four years of volleyball and track and field, Annie Breger has been consistent from her freshman year. Always solid, humble and focused, Breger’s love for both sports comes out in her play. A year ago, Breger advanced to the CCS Trials only to come up short in a spot in the finals in both the long jump and triple jump. Now in the twilight of her high school athletic career, Breger hopes to go longer and farther than she’s ever gone before.