RayvenNealey2018TG

Madison’s Rayven Nealey competes in girls triple jump finals of the 2018 Tiger-Grizz Invitational at Ravsten Stadium.

The best female triple jumper in Idaho for three years running is continuing her track career at the Division I level.

Madison High School senior Rayven Nealey signed her national letter of intent Thursday with the University of Nevada. She chose the school out of a short list that also consisted of Georgia and LSU. She also received an offer from Colorado, adding that she heard from ‘a lot’ of Division I schools.

Nealey was sold on the athletic and academic atmosphere of the Reno university, which she visited earlier this month.

“The girls seemed like they were really supportive of each other,” Nealey said Saturday after completing her events at the annual Tiger-Grizz Invitational. “That’s what I really liked. The academics are great, too. We’ll have academic advisers who work with us all the time.”

The signing marks the next step in an impressive journey for Nealey. Unlike several of her teammates and competitors in Idaho, she did not do middle school track. She started track as a freshman, and long jump and triple jump were not yet her signature events.

“I started in high jump and hurdles,” Nealey said. “I did not know what (long jump and triple jump) entailed at all.”

That freshman season ended with a second-place finish in triple jump and the rest is history. She won the 5A state girls triple jump titles as a sophomore and junior and is undefeated in the event dating back to the beginning of her sophomore season. She has surpassed 39 feet five times and has a personal best of 39-9 from last year’s 5A District 5-6 championships. In long jump, she has placed third and second at state and attained a new personal best of 18-3 Saturday upon defending her Tiger-Grizz title. She has also regularly competed in 4x100-meter relay since her sophomore season, which produced a District 6 all-time best time of 48.51 and a runner-up finish at state. Madison girls 4x100 is currently No. 2 in Idaho’s all-classification rankings with a season best time of 49.87. Nealey has competed in the 100 all four years and currently is No. 8 in Idaho’s all-classification athletic.net rankings.

While college track wasn’t on her radar her first season, it started to seem like a possibility the next year.

“I just kinda go with the flow,” Nealey said. “I think when I won state the first time, I was like, ‘I could be good at this.’”

She credited Madison’s jump coaches for helping her reach this point.

“They’ve always been able to calm me down,” Nealey said. “Since I can’t watch myself, they always show me what I need to fix.”

Relieved that the recruiting process has ended, Nealey said she is looking forward to more personal bests and progression with the Wolfpack. She is also looking ahead to a bigger goal.

“Hopefully I can catch the attention of some recruiters and make it to the Olympics,” Nealey said.

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at 542-6772 and find her on Twitter: @mwhereford.

Marlowe Hereford has worked for the Post Register since August 2011. She has covered 11 different high school sports, Olympic sports and recreational sports.

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