2017-07-14 / Sports

Plummer is county’s latest sensation

GIRLS’ TRACK & FIELD /// Moorpark Musketeers Only freshman to compete in high jump at state finals has a bright future
Jonathan Andrade
@J_ Andrade_ on Twitter

THE NATURAL—Victoria Plummer, an incoming Moorpark High sophomore, had a rookie year to remember for the girls’ track and field team. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers THE NATURAL—Victoria Plummer, an incoming Moorpark High sophomore, had a rookie year to remember for the girls’ track and field team. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers No one should be surprised by all the track and field talent sprouting in Ventura County.

Year in and year out, there’s always a new superstar rewriting record books.

Michelle Magnani dominated distance races for Moorpark High before excelling at Oklahoma State. Sarah Baxter wowed crowds in her four years at Simi Valley. Tara Davis, a (likely) future Olympian, wrapped up her prep career at Agoura with three individual state titles.

Victoria Plummer, who completed her freshman year at Moorpark, is the latest track and field dynamo to emerge in the area.

The 15-year-old was the only freshman high jumper at this year’s CIF state finals.

Plummer cleared 5 feet, 6 inches for eighth place at the state meet. That’s the best any Musketeer girl has ever finished at the state meet in any event, said Moorpark head coach Scott Mangers.

The rookie campaign was only the beginning of what will certainly be a career to remember for Plummer, who set a school record (5-8) in the high jump on March 4 at the Don Green Memorial Track meet.

“I think she has a legitimate chance to be a state champ,” Mangers said. “That 6-foot barrier is kind of the stratosphere for a female high jumper in high school. I think that might be something to shoot for. . . .

“I think, with her work ethic, the sky’s the limit.”

Simi Valley’s Ann Marie Turpin set the county girls’ high jump record of 5-10.5 in 1999.

There’s no doubt in the coach’s mind that Plummer can make her mark in the history books before she graduates in 2020.

Plummer doesn’t just have springs for legs. Mangers said the Musketeer also exhibits the calm demeanor of a true superstar.

“A lot of times those folks are pretty high-strung and you have to calm them down,” Mangers said. “Tori was always very relaxed in competitions.”

She put her cool, calm and collected approach on display during the CIF-Southern Section Masters meet on May 26.

Plummer scratched on her first two attempts at 5-3 and 5-5, but nailed her third attempts at both heights.

“All of us in the stands were pretty nervous, but she was just stone cold with no problem,” the coach said. “She got over the height to get to state, which is pretty cool.”

Faith Johnston, who competes in the 800- and 1,600-meter races for Moorpark, attended the state meet to cheer on her good friend. They’ve known each other since they were 10-year-olds playing AYSO soccer.

Johnston said she wasn’t surprised by Plummer’s success at state.

“It’s just another accomplishment for Tori,” Johnston said. “She’s always so entertaining to watch. It’s incredible what she can do as a freshman.”

Plummer thrived in the sport since she started nine years ago with the Moorpark Striders youth club.

She broke age group records and earned national gold medals at numerous meets, including the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Championships in 2012.

Mangers got his first look at Plummer when she competed in the long jump for the Mesa Verde Middle School team.

“I’d heard (Plummer) was a pretty good athlete—but I didn’t know her by face,” Mangers said. “It was something extraordinary when she jumped 16 feet as an eighth-grader.”

The coach said the rest of the field was earning marks in the 10- foot range.

Understandably, Mangers had high expectations for Plummer this spring.

“Delivering on potential doesn’t always happen,” he said. “Her demeanor, her confidence and her attitude makes her a tremendous competitor.”

Plummer said thriving at the youth level built her confidence heading into high school.

“I knew if I jumped well that I’d be able to make it to the state meet, but it was all dependent on my mental fortitude,” Plummer said.

Remaining calm can be tricky at times for the Musketeer.

“Sometimes I don’t (stay calm),” she said. “Sometimes you just kind of have to stop thinking and let your body do what you practiced so much. Turn off your brain and turn on your body.”

Plummer cruised through a tough Coastal Canyon League slate, taking first in the high jump at every meet. She also found success in both hurdles races and the long jump.

Her top 300 hurdles time this season was 51.60 seconds against Camarillo on April 5. She earned her top long jump mark (16-10) against Oak Park on April 20.

Plummer also scores points and notches blocks as a member of the girls’ volleyball program. She started at middle blocker for the freshman volleyball team in her first year playing the sport. Plummer expects to suit up for the junior varsity team as a sophomore in the fall.

The Musketeer said she enjoys participating in a new sport, but nothing will ever replace track.

“I love volleyball because it’s new and it’s way different from track, but track is my home,” she said. “I’m comfortable with track.”

Plummer appreciates her track and field teammates, who cheered for her during meets.

“It was different than going to nationals, where I was completely by myself all the time,” she said. “I barely had anyone that I knew. It was nice to have people from my school who I could talk to in competitions.”

She reunited with former Moorpark Strider Rebecca Penner, a basketball standout and fellow high jumper who graduated this spring.

“We’re like an old married couple,” Plummer said of Penner. “We just make fun of each other all the time. It’s like having an annoying older sister, and I’m her annoying younger sister.”

Plummer, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, said she dreams of winning the school’s first state title and earning a scholarship to compete in college.

While nothing is set in stone, “Right now, USC’s looking pretty nice,” she said.

The daughter of Duane and Chris Plummer, Victoria Plummer is focused on balancing schoolwork with sports.

Her prep career is just getting started.

“I’d like to see her record get even higher,” Mangers said.

Email Jonathan Andrade at jandrade@theacorn.com.

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