VERMILLION -- The height of Carly Haring’s first competitive jumps -- 5 feet, 10 3/4 inches -- of the season at a dual meet against South Dakota State University on Dec. 5 doesn’t tell the whole story.
It placed her second on University of South Dakota’s all-time list, behind only All-American Megan Glisar (6-0.75) in 2014. But more importantly, it showed the potential the Mitchell native possesses with the numerous tweaks to her mechanics.
Only this year has Haring started to completely figure out the changes, making her jumps feel more comfortable and natural during her sophomore season. It led to a four-inch increase, one she didn’t even expect to happen in the first two meets -- both of which she won.
“Last season, I didn’t feel a lot of the change happening,” Haring said. “I was pretty happy to be jumping 5-7 last year because that was close to what I jumped in high school, but I was working on so much. This year, it’s a lot easier and everything is coming more naturally.”
Haring, a three-time state champion at Mitchell High School, cleared 5-8 to rank top 10 in the state’s history. However, even as small of a tweak as how high her knees go when she runs has helped maximize her talents.
USD essentially changed how she ran up to the bar.
Haring tries to put more force into the ground, is focused on picking up her knees and has her foot land directly underneath her. At Mitchell, she took longer steps and had her foot land way out in front. Even as she ranks fifth in Division I, she’s not done with changes. Haring still wants to run smoother through the curve, while having faster and shorter final steps.
She’s had plenty of time to perfect the new run-up after her freshman outdoor season was canceled due to COVID-19. Despite earning all-Summit League honors by taking third place with a jump of 5-7 at the indoor conference championships last season, the long offseason unlocked a new level.
“When I came back in the whole high jumping scene, it wasn’t a blank slate,” said Haring, who still ranked top-10 in USD high jump history as a freshman. “But I definitely got rid of my old habits and got to work on the things that I’ve been improving on.”
Haring is tied with South Carolina’s Rachel Glenn for fifth among Division I high jumpers. Only four high jumpers have cleared 6-feet this year, which was Haring’s goal entering college. Georgia’s Anna Hall leads the nation with a jump of 6-1.25.
“It’s been my dream since high school to be up there in the top-15 in the nation,” Haring said.
She’s added some new goals, too. Haring feels she can keep improving her height and consistency, hoping it leads to her eventually clearing 6-feet and punching a ticket to the NCAA indoor championships, which is March 11-13 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
As well as she’s performed in her young career, Haring, a biology major, doesn’t base all of her collegiate success on the track, though. In fact, it’s not even her No. 1 goal. She made the Summit League honor roll last year and wants to keep excelling in the classroom.
But if she can also maintain, or move up, her positioning among high jumpers, that makes it even better.
“(Clearing 6 feet) would mean -- I don’t want to say everything because I keep school as my No. 1 focus. Getting good grades is my No. 1 goal, and track comes second,” Haring said. “But if I’m able to do both of those things, that would mean everything to me.”