LaShonda Christopher casts a big shadow over high school track and field in Lacey.
As a Timberline sophomore in 1993, Christopher posted program records in the long jump (19 feet, 7 1/2 inches) and triple jump (41-1 1/4) that have lasted 25 years.
Then, she transferred to newly-opened River Ridge, jumped even further to set Hawks’ records that have yet to be broken.
She followed all of that up with an All-American career at the University of North Carolina.
Enter Keshara Romain.
Last spring, as a junior, Romain recorded a mark of 38-3 3/4 in the triple jump — the best leap by a Blazer since Christopher's a quarter-century ago.
This season, Romain became only the second long jumper in Timberline history to crack 19 feet, posting a jump of 19-0 1/2 earlier this month, which leads Class 3A.
It might have added up to a hard luck story for Romain’s legacy, until she found her way into the school record book anyway — twice — as part of the Blazers’ fleet relay teams.
Combining with fellow jumper Rachel Izuagbe and sprinters Makenna Hansen and Ashley Babkirk, Romain helped set the Timberline record for both the 4x100 relay (49.77 seconds) and 4x200 relay (1:45.09).
Heading into this weekend’s 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict meet at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner, the Blazers rank fifth in the 3A in the 4x100, and third in the 4x200.
Individually, Romain leads 3A long jumpers and ranks second behind Garfield’s defending state champion Lyric Harris in the triple jump.
Romain may well make multiple trips to the podium at next week’s state championships in Tacoma after reaching the podium in the triple jump (third) and long jump (fourth) in 2017.
"Keshara’s continued to develop physically. She’s leaner and meaner," Timberline coach Todd Taylor said. "She bought into (jumps coach Zandrea) Edenstrom’s program. She’s put in the work and it’s paying off."
When Romain — also a talented basketball player who earned second-team 3A South Sound Conference and second-team Olympian All-Area honors — arrived at Timberline, Edenstrom was in her final season as the Blazers’ girls basketball coach.
"You could see she had jumping ability from watching her in basketball," Edenstrom said. "Her initial thought was to do high jump and long jump. But with her long, athletic body I convinced her she should try triple jumping."
It’s not an uncommon recruiting plea by Edenstrom, who still holds the Tumwater triple jump record and competed for Eastern Washington University.
She’s coached all but five of the top 20 boys triple jumpers in Timberline history and 17 of the top 20 girls.
"At first, I didn’t want to do the triple jump," Romain said. "There was so much technique to learn. It was tough to hit the board right."
Then a misstep and a rule changed her mind.
After high jumping 5-2 early her freshman season, one of the strongest marks ever for a Blazer ninth-grader, she crashed into an upright later in the season.
At the same time, Taylor could assign Romain to no more than four events per meet.
"The more I did the triple jump, the better I did at invitationals. When colleges starting showing interest, the more I started to like it," Romain said.
The long jump came naturally and Romain's background as a basketball player helps her enjoy the relays.
"It’s a different experience. I love the teamwork. It's great to accomplish something with the other girls, to make sure we get the baton around the track," she said. "Plus, I’m the anchor on the 4x100 so I can’t quit, I need to bring us home."
Taylor assigns his fastest sprinter, Hansen, to the second leg because it has the longest straightaway.
"Keshara’s strong coming off that last corner," he said. "She's a competitor, she's going to go all out to reel people in."
One of Romain's strengths this season has been durability.
Except for a short stretch when she was hampered by a bruised tailbone suffered landing a long jump in hard sand, she's been able to train and compete uninterrupted.
She credited increased weight training before basketball season, something she hadn't done in the past.
"The triple jump will beat you down. It can give you heel issues," Taylor said. "The technique is physically demanding. You have to be impervious to injury to find success in it."
Which is a reason both Taylor and Edenstrom think Romain will continue to improve in college. Several NCAA Division I schools have been in touch, though she has yet to commit.
"When she gets into a college program, she’ll be able to work on things we don't have to the ability to do with high school athletes," Edenstrom said. "They’ll have specialized coaches working on her strength and flexibility where in high school most kids just do three months of track and maybe another sport."
She points to Jaylen Taylor, who set the Timberline boys triple jump record of 47-6 3/4 during last year's state meet.
Competing for Washington during last weekend’s Pac-12 meet at Stanford, Taylor surpassed that mark by two feet, finishing sixth in 49-8 3/4.
Planning to major in nursing, Romain may take the same pre-college route as Taylor and work out this summer with the Federal Way-based Flying AJs club team.