For many athletes across the country, five top ten finishes at the state meet and two state championships would be a fantastic high school career. But for Neuqua Valley junior Riley Ammenhauser, that total only covers her freshman and sophomore seasons at the IHSA girls track and field meet. Ammenhauser finished 10th in the long jump as a freshman in 2018 and won the state title in the triple jump with a distance of 40 feet, two and a quarter inches.
Despite her tremendous success so early in her high school career, Riley’s success in the jumping events was a recent revelation.
Despite getting a late start into the world of long and triple jumping, Neuqua Valley girls track and field coach Gretchen Parejko knew right away that the Wildcats had a special athlete on their hands.
Ammenhauser is also a valuable starter on the Neuqua volleyball team, playing middle blocker. While she does not have prototypical size, the skills from her jumping training allow her to get up high for blocks and kills.
While Ammenhauser seemingly came out of nowhere to earn her state title as a freshman, there was no sneaking up on the competition as a sophomore. Despite the newfound target on her back, Riley took her performance at the 2019 state meet to another level. After another top ten finish in the long jump, she then immediately went to the track to run as the anchor leg of the 4X100 meter relay team, helping the Wildcats to a 7th place finish. It was then time to defend the triple jump title, but in the final round of jumps, Homewood Flossmoor senior Trinity Daniels took the lead with a distance of 40 feet, seven and a quarter inches. Despite being down to her final jump and a full day of competition wearing on her legs, Riley Ammenhauser dug in and set a new PR with a state championship distance of 40 feet, 11 and a half inches.
With so many accolades in only two years, Neuqua Valley jumps coach Wayne Hartmann knows that there is almost unlimited potential for his star pupil.
While the future for Ammenhauser is certainly bright, the Neuqua Valley track and field coaches are enjoying what makes the junior such a stand out in terms of performance and leadership.
With a new triple jump PR already set during this year’s indoor season, it will be fun to see how far Riley Ammenhauser soars over the next two years and beyond.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell
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