Generational jump: AHS high jumper is chasing her mother’s heights

Published 6:58 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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Austin senior Aggie McKichan has emerged as the top high jumper for the Packers this spring, but there is one more jumper she still wants to catch.

Aggie is driven to reach the personal best height of her jumping coach, who just happens to be her mother, Andrea McKichan.

Andrea’s personal best jump was five-feet, three-inches and Aggie’s best jump has been five-feet.

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(My mom) was a really good high jumper,” Aggie said. “I’m trying to beat her and trying to be at the same level as her. I haven’t really been performing my best, but hopefully at the next meet, I’ll be able to jump higher. She’s a motivator for me, because everyone wants to beat their parents.”

Andrea was quite the athlete in her day as she advanced to the Minnesota State High School League State Track and Field Meet in the high jump and the 4 x 100-meter relay while attending Argyle High School in Northwestern Minnesota. Andrea went on to run and compete in high jump for the Minnesota State University-Moorhead track and field team.

Andrea was Aggie’s jumping coach when Aggie was a seventh grader, but COVID-19 put sports on hold in the spring of Aggie’s eighth grade year and left mother and daughter on the sidelines. Both Aggie and Andrea left track and field for two years before Aggie had a friend convince her to rejoin the track and field team as a sophomore.

During the parent meeting that year, Andrea asked if she could help out and before knew it, she was back in the position of assistant coach, this time for the Packer varsity team. Andrea saw the strain that missing out on sports put on her daughter the pandemic and she’s glad that Aggie was able to find her way back to a sport that she is now excelling in.

“I really hope she beats (my best jump) this year,” Andrea said. “COVID for all of the kids was really rough. They all had to take a step back and they weren’t as active. Coming back really helped her.” 

Aggie doesn’t mind having her mom coach her as the two share many activities together. Andrea has also coached and played volleyball with Aggie and the two participate in CrossFit together during summers.

Aggie has enjoyed the improvements she’s made in high jumping over the years and this season has been her best.

All told, she has no regrets about returning to track and field when she was a sophomore.

In eighth grade I was really sad that we had no track because I did it with my friends and we all actually really liked it,” Aggie said. “But then I kind of forgot about track, until my friend asked me to come back and do it (as a sophomore). We had a lot of athletes who never came back to it. I’m happy I came back and it’s too bad that some people didn’t.”

The Packers will compete in the True Team Section 1A track and field meet in Winona at 2 p.m. on May 7.