It’s not a typical event in high school track and field, but that’s OK. Maggie Monaghan is not a typical high school athlete.
“I was already doing a couple of the events that are in the heptathlon, and I was OK at them,” Monaghan said. “My coach has taken a couple of other girls to the AAU Regional meet for the heptathlon, so he suggested it and we came up with a training plan, and that’s how that happened.”
Monaghan will be a senior at Port Huron Northern this fall, and last spring, she took her track and field career to an entirely new level. It all started with two new events: the 100-meter hurdles and long jump. From there, it evolved into seven – or just one big one, the heptathlon.
She started off her junior season focusing on pole vault and the 300-meter hurdles – two events she had done as a sophomore – along with the 100 hurdles.
“One meet it was raining for pole vault, and you can't vault in the rain, so I asked if I could go long jump for the first time,” Monaghan said.
So on April 22, she lept 13 feet, 9.75 inches in her attempt. A few weeks later she tried it again, this time leaping 3 feet farther with a mark of 16-9.75.
And yet only three days later, she improved again with a personal best of 17-7, which was good enough to win the MAC-White title. She also won both hurdle events that day.
Then on May 20, Monaghan picked up the MHSAA Region 10 title to qualify for the Division 1 State Finals which took place on June 4. In less than two months, she went from a rookie to an all-state long jumper after she placed fourth in the state with a mark of 17-5.25.
“[Long jump] is the most exciting because I feel like I made the most progress in such a short amount of time, so it’s exciting to see what I’ll do,” Monaghan said.
Looking for another challenge, she decided to add a few more events to her resume as she began training for the heptathlon – one big event that includes seven individual ones: the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, the 200-meter, long jump, javelin, and the 800-meter.
On July 1, Monaghan completed her first-ever heptathlon, winning the AAU Track and Field Region 12 title with 3831 points. The victory qualified her to compete a month later in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the AAU Track and Field Junior Olympic Games.
“I think it went as well as it could’ve gone considering that it’s something that is newer, so I’m proud of how it happened,” she said of her performance.
Against 60 competitors in the 17- and 18-year-old division, Monaghan placed 12th on the national stage. She totaled 4071 points and improved in four of the seven events, including the 800 by more than 20 seconds.
“I knew I had to get that time down to even be in the hunt…I’m super proud of myself for that, that was a hard one to do,” Monaghan said. “I'm proud of how I finished. There’s always a part when you get done that you wish you could've done just a little bit better, but I think that’s how all athletes feel.”
After five months of training and competing, Monaghan said she’ll take some time off this fall as she readies for indoor track and field and her final high school season. And although she’s already seen incredible improvement, she’s still not satisfied, making next season a highly-anticipated one.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
To hear more from Maggie about her experience at the Junior Olympic Games and what it’s like to do a heptathlon, listen to this week’s edition of The Sports Report Podcast here.