CHARLESTON — Sarah Flight found the perfect fit to continue her education and track career — Notre Dame.
Flight, who holds the high jump school record at Charleston and has placed in the top 12 in Class 2A at state the past two seasons, was sold after visiting the school in South Bend, Ind., once. She was offered a scholarship that day.
"It is not super far from home, only a few hours," Flight said. "They have the academics and athletics that I want at a university and it seemed to fall in place at Notre Dame."
Flight, who also played golf and basketball during her high school career with the Trojans, picked Notre Dame, who competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, over DePaul, Missouri State, St. Louis University and Connecticut.
"Sarah is one of the hardest workers I know," said Charleston coach Justin Tomaska. "She spends countless hours on form and technique. She deserves this as she has put so much time and effort on being where she is today. Notre Dame is going to be a great fit for her as she has the work ethic in the classroom and in track to succeed."
Flight has applied to business school as she is hoping to do something in the business field.
The daughter of Donna and Richard Flight, Flight has already had success this season, winning the Apollo Conference indoor meet at Mount Zion in the high jump at 5-3.
Her career best is 5-7 1/4, which she accomplished last season and is also the school record.
Notre Dame assistant coach Rodney Zuyderwyk, the team's sprints coach, is who Flight communicated with during recruitment.
"I know he was looking to improve in each event and were trying to improve in the high jump," said Flight, whose head coach at Notre Dame is Matt Sparks — in his first year after serving the last four as an associated head coach. He as the cross country coach at Southern Illinois from 2002-03 through 2012-13.
In high school Flight also competes in the long jump, triple jump and sometimes the 4x400 relay.
Flight, who said she was also on the campus when the Charleston girls basketball team went to watch a Notre Dame women's game her freshman season, decided in February and had a signing ceremony last week.
"I wanted to get it out of the way," said Flight. "That way I would not be thinking about it. It is a weight off my shoulders."
Last year Flight was 11th at the Class 2A state track meet, going 5-1. In 2017 she earned second place at 5-5 and also made it to state as a freshman, but didn't make the finals.
In the Indoor Top Prep Times meet last year Flight was second at 5-4, and a year ago in the New Balance Indoor Nationals at New York she placed 15th, going 5-5.
Flight has been doing the high jump since her seventh-grade year.
"I had a big growth spurt between my eighth grade and freshman years and that helped out a lot going into high school," said the 5-8 Flight.
Flight has come a long way — she was 23rd in state as a seventh-grader, going 4-4.
"Coach Tomaska has helped me so much throughout high school and my parents have taken me to the field house (Lantz) to help me out," said Flight. "Kim Sherwood has always been there to help and I have had several different coaches from around the region that have helped me. "
Haleigh Knapp, who earned second-team All-American honors at Eastern Illinois in the high jump, was one who also helped Flight.
"I am so thankful for everyone who helped me along the path," said Flight. "The support of my friends, parents, coaches was all great. I have just thrilled to do my best and I have worked hard to get where I am."
Flight said she wanted to compete at the college level her freshman year and realized she could her sophomore year.
"I put more work into it after my freshman year," said Flight. "After my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to do this when I go to college. It was something I wasn't ready to give up when I graduated."
Flight starts her high jump on the left side even though she is right-handed.
"It is just the most natural for me," said Flight. "My jump is a little weird. I don't have some of the basic mechanics yet, like a ton of knee drive and not a lot of power and thrust. I am just not there yet."
This season Flight hopes to win the Indoor Top Prep Times and compete and win the outdoor state as well.
"Early on I was not looking to be at the Division I level," said Flight, who will join Effingham St. Anthony graduate Anna Sophia Keller (currently a sophomore) on the team. "I was thinking why settle for Division II or III when I could go big time. I started looking at Division I schools realizing I could compete at that level if I wanted to."