After what she did in the indoor pentathlon, folks were telling Anna Hall (Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, Colorado) that she could score 5500 outdoors in the full-blown multi. “People had said that because I was so close to Kendell [William’s] record indoor,” says Hall, who missed the 5-event HSR of 4068 by a mere 14 points at New Balance.
“I was like, ‘OK, 5500 is kind of close to the actual record, just 78 points off, so I might as well go for that,’” the multi-talented junior says.
The other big motivation, says Hall, was last year’s soph campaign, in which she tallied a best of 4963, good for No. 6 on the yearly list: “My hepts last year were pretty sub-par and I was really disappointed with them. I was excited to have a chance to fix that, but I was also a little nervous that I was going to have another bad one.”
Says coach Brian Kula, “She’s a phenomenal kid with tremendous focus and work ethic. She’s hard on herself at times, but it’s kind of what motivates her.”
Once the 7-event competition began at the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque (May 31–June 01), she says, “It was in the back of my mind the whole time, but I didn’t want to focus on points. I just tried to focus on each event so that there weren’t any mishaps and it ended up working out.”
On Day 1 she hit 14.03 for the hurdles, and followed with a 5-11½ (1.82) high jump, a 34-11¾ (10.66) put, and sprinted 24.56 into a 3.0 wind. That put her at 3478, a slim 5 points ahead of Williams when she set the national record at the World Juniors in Barcelona in ’12.
The next day, she flew a PR 19-10¾ (6.06) in the long jump. Suddenly, she felt good about her prospects. “I knew I was a little bit ahead of the pace on the first day and I knew that if I hit my marks that I would get it by a lot on Day 2. When I PRed by so much in the long jump, I was like, ‘Wow, this is really going to be a good score.’”
Ironically, Williams had jumped farther in her record (20-½/6.11), and Hall had slipped 10 points behind pace. But she knew she had a strong finish. In the javelin, she threw another PR, 117-11 (35.96) to move 94 points ahead. Then she put down a solid 2:17.18 in the 800 to tally 5798, a whopping 220 points beyond the old HSR.
Not a bad weekend for a kid who started out as a distance runner. “I was running the 1500 when I was 9,” she says. “I don’t know why. And then my dad was like, ‘Want to try high jump? You’re pretty tall, you’ve got long legs.’ I started high jumping with him and I just loved it, but I didn’t want to stop doing the 1500. It was a weird combination. As I was getting older, he was like, ‘All right, you can’t really do both. Or you could try the multis…’ So I tried that and it was so much fun.”
Dave Hall, her dad, knew how fun the multis could be. A former backup quarterback for Michigan, he scored 7034 in the decathlon for the Wolverines in ’85.
As a frosh, Anna won the Colorado high jump title for Arapahoe High. The next year she transferred to Valor, where she was able to work with Kula, who himself had been a 7000+ decathlete for Northern Colorado.
Since then her focus has been solidly on the heptathlon, though she has captured additional state titles in both hurdles and long jump, not to mention the New Balance indoor high jump. “Training and competing is more fun than if I were just a high jumper,” she explains. “I’ve always liked running and I’ve always liked high jumping. I like an event where I can put them both together.”
Next up, says Kula, is the USATF Juniors. “We’re pretty confident she can be in the mix,” he says, with an eye toward finishing in the top 2 and qualifying for the World Juniors in Finland.
“The ultimate goal is to make the team,” says Hall. “I’m just going to focus on competing and see what happens.”