Watching Sylviann Momont’s fluid stride down the runway for the long or triple jump makes it very clear that she is a natural at the event.
Between her own talent and some great track and field genetics, thanks to her mother Jennifer Momont, the Auburndale High School sophomore already has state tournament hardware — she placed fifth in the long jump last year — and has been racing to first-place finishes at meets this season.
At Tuesday’s Edgar invitational, Momont won three individual events, the long and triple jumps and the 300 hurdles, an event that she’s becoming more comfortable with.
“I think it starts with her work ethic,” said Brian Swenson, who is Auburndale head boys coach and also coaches the jumps. “She always does everything I ask of her and them some. Natural talent is helpful and her mother was a successful collegiate track athlete, so genetics helps too.”
Not only did Sylviann’s mother pass on her athletic prowess, but provided the inspiration for her to try track and field.
“I knew that my mom was good in track and I wanted to try it,” Sylviann said. “I like the long and triple jumps, they’re my favorite. I’ like to jump and I like the sand. It’s kind of like you’re flying for a few seconds.
“I did the hurdles in middle school, but I wasn’t sure about doing them in high school,” she added. “The 300 hurdles are very challenging. The corners are hard because the hurdles seem closer, but they’re really not and the last 100 is a killer, but you have to push through.”
Momont’s mom competed for Sterling Heights, Mich., a Detroit suburb in high school and went to college at Michigan Tech., where she competed in as many as 10 events in a meet. During her prep career she competed in the running events and was introduced to the field events in college. As a four-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion in the long and triple jumps, it’s easy to understand why her daughter has a knack for it.
“When the girls were very young I got them into gymnastics to learn about body control which helps with any sport,” Jennifer said. “I encouraged both my girls to try sports and see what they like. I think kids should be able to try all the sports they want to figure out what they enjoy and are good at.”
In addition to track, Sylviann also competes in volleyball and basketball, while her sister, Amanda an eighth-grader, runs cross country and track and plays basketball.
For Sylviann, the confidence she gained by competing at the state level is showing in her performances this season.
“Last year she was a great jumper, but you could tell that she was nervous and that held her back at times,” Swenson said. “She’s more confident in her abilities this year and as a result, she’s been more consistent from meet to meet.”
Sylviann admits to being more relaxed when competing this season and reaching the podium last year has helped. And she has lofty goals set for herself.
“I’m more confident this year, and being on the podium last year has made me extremely hungry to get back (to state),” she said. “I’m a little scared because I don’t want to be a state qualifier as a freshman and not make it my sophomore year. I think I’d be a little embarrassed if that happened.”
At the Edgar meet she went 16-feet-6.50 inches in the long jump, 33-8.50 in the triple and ran a 50.97 in the 300 hurdles. Earlier in the outdoor season she uncorked a 34-2 triple jump, her best of the season.
With lengths and times like those this early in the outdoor season, Sylviann has plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.
“Being on the podium was a really good feeling, especially for being a freshman,” Sylviann said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates.
“I want to get back in both jumps and I really want to win the long jump,” she added. “That’s my goals, but I have a lot of work to do.”