Not unlike the mouse that roared, Haley Mouser recently soared to new heights at the 2014 New Balance Nationals Outdoor track-and-field meet in Greensboro, N.C.
The terrifically talented athlete from Pawhuska High School cleared 5 feet, 7 3/4 inches in the girls’ high jump event at the national meet, which is generally considered to be the U.S. junior championships.
Mouser’s career-best leap was the third highest jump of the under-18 competition — and it also equalled the top clearance by the event’s defending champion. The nationally-recognized effort earned Mouser a sixth-place finish in the New Balance meet and won her the lofty designation as a High School All-American.
Pretty impressive for a girl who was born with a foot problem that was so severe it necessitated multiple corrective surgeries during her early childhood.
Mouser, a 16-year-old who will be a PHS junior this fall, also is a middle-distance runner for the Lady Huskies. Additionally, she was a starting defender/midfielder on Pawhuska’s state tournament-qualifying soccer team. Over a five-day period May 6-10, Mouser played in state soccer tourney road matches Tuesday and Thursday — then headed to the 3A state track meet at Moore on Friday and Saturday.
As a freshman last season, Mouser garnered a fourth-place high jump medal at the 2013 Oklahoma 3A Championships. She finished third at this year’s state meet after winning seven of eight regular season competitions, plus conference and regional titles. She also received a 2014 state medal as a member of the Lady Huskies’ 1,600-meter relay squad, which placed fifth.
Mouser qualified to compete both years in the Oklahoma Meet of Champions, an all-classes meet that follows the state championships. She tied for third her first year and won third outright last May.
Since its debut in 1991, the New Balance Nationals have provided a summer showcase for track-and-field’s best high school athletes from the United States and Canada. This year, more than 2,500 prep standouts (19-years-old and under) participated in the meet, which was held June 13-15 at North Carolina A&T University.
The girls’ under-18 high jump champion was Bailey Weiland, a prodigious 14-year-old from Atlanta who jumped 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches and beat the Indiana runner-up by almost two inches. Weiland cleared her first six attempts (including the winning height) without recording a miss.
Mouser was one of 36 contestants in her class, which included no other entries from Oklahoma. Jumpers from five other states matched the 5-7 3/4 height, including Pennsylvania’s Abby Jones, who had claimed the 2013 title with a beastly leap of 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches.
The championships are sponsored by New Balance Athletic Shoes, with sanctioning through the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation. In addition to the regular high school track-and-field events, the meet also featured non-traditional contests like race walking and steeplechase.