Olivia Pilon came off the awards stands inside Brideweser Stadium. She looked around and couldn't fathom what she had just done. Then, the Bristol High School sophomore cracked a smile showing off her braces.
The smile was because Pilon took second in the Division III Navarre Regional girls long jump on Friday.
She's the first track and field athlete to represent Bristol at the state track and field meet since Tiffany French advanced in the throws more than 10 years ago.
Pilon's personal best jump of 16 feet, 9.25 inches actually placed her first. It was the second jump of three during finals.
Frankly, the sophomore never thought she'd get past the Division III Independence district. She placed third with a jump of 15-3.75 behind Badger's Leah Blaney and Jennilyn Krumpe.
"Yeah, I wasn't even planning on making it to regionals. It's pretty unbelievable," Pilon said.
Then Blaney, a junior, who had been sitting fifth prior to her final jump of finals said she wasn't all that worried. In fact, she remained calm, cool and collected. Her previous five jumps (three preliminaries and two in finals) were short of the top four needed to go to this weekend's state meet in Columbus.
Blaney was the reigning Division III Navarre Regional champion. She finished seventh at last year's state meet.
Her final jump of 17-1.5 changed everything. It gave Blaney her second regional championship.
She said she's happy for the honor again, but also was pleased that someone so familiar like Pilon is joining her this season.
"I'm happy for her," Blaney said. "I congratulated her. It's awesome to have another jumper from our area doing so well. I think it's exciting."
Both girls are from the Northeastern Athletic Conference. It's been a conference dominated by boys distance runners from Maplewood.
However, Blaney's seventh-place finish and Krumpe's state championship in the 400-meter dash last year proved that Badger was a powerhouse on the girls side.
Krumpe's win in the 400 was Trumbull County's only state championship last year.
Krumpe took fourth in the 400 at Friday's regional and will head back to state for the second straight season.
Who knows how Krumpe and Blaney will fare this year at state? However they finish, they are a good representation for the Braves. Also, high jumper Taylor Baumiller, who overcame an injury last season, is going to state as well in the high jump
"Jenny has my own goals and I have mine. We want to do just as well, if not better, than we did last year," Blaney said. "We're trying to be consistent."
As for Pilon, she's looking at the big venue at Jesse Owens Stadium as a great opportunity. She's grateful to be jumping on the west side of the stadium on The Ohio State University Campus.
"Do my best. I'm happy to be there," she said.
If you're from Bristol, you should be happy Pilon is at state. It's not only good for the NAC, but great for the Panthers - a school with a proud athletic tradition.
"It's pretty unbelievable. I'm not sure what to think. My school is proud of me," Pilon said.