Christina Warren was reflective on Wednesday in what could be her last experience at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
"The last time this was in Iowa, I medaled for the first time in the long jump," said Warren, who earned the first gold medal of her career at the Games, this one coming in the girls 17-18 division of the triple jump with a wind-legal mark of 40 feet, 4.75 inches. "It's a nice kind of full circle moment for me."
So it was bittersweet for the Perkiomen Valley (PA) High School rising senior, who has compiled five indoor and outdoor state championship medals in Pennsylvania--including two outdoor titles in the triple jump over the past two seasons. As a high school graduate next year, Warren may instead plan for her collegiate future.
But she said she'll never forget the memories she's gained at AAU.
"It's definitely been my whole childhood," Warren said. "I've never had a free summer since I was 8. I've always been competing in this. It's just been a nice part of my childhood."
Warren was second in the triple jump in 2017, though she was just shy of reaching 40 feet.
After a big spring where Warren set a career best 41-1.5 attempt at the Hoka One One Invitational, she followed with another big 40-feet mark on Wednesday.
"It's definitely a nice mark to be hitting," she said. "My PR is 41, but just to hit it so late in the season, it's an accomplishment for me."
Warren is currently navigating the recruiting process and has yet to figure out her top five schools. But she knows what she wants.
"A school that can better help me advance in my athletic career and in my future, professionally," she said.
All those years ago, AAU set warren on the right path.
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