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Like many multi-sport athletes, Tuscarora High School junior Alysa Carrigan closed out a stellar varsity basketball season on March 6 and turned her attention to track and field the next day.
Just five days after Tuscarora lost a 54-53 nailbiter to Pulaski County in the Virginia Class 4 state semifinals, Carrigan was flying high at the 2023 New Balance Nationals Indoor (NBNI) meet in Boston.
"The [state semifinal] game was really heartbreaking, I was really sad the next day," Carrigan said. "When I went to track practice, I flipped the switch. I just tried to clear my mind of basketball and focus on track."
The quick reset paid off in a big way. Carrigan matched her personal best, clearing 5 feet, 8 inches in the high jump event at the New Balance Nationals Indoor to place first in the Champions division.
A two-time Virginia High School League outdoor state champion in the high jump, Carrigan secured her first national title and earned all-american honors.
"I've been concentrating on basketball so I didn't really have any expectations going in, I was just excited to make it there," said Carrigan, who first cleared 5-8 at a NBNI qualifying meet earlier this year. "It was just super unexpected to win the whole thing."
Carrigan's individual success follows the best season in program history for Tuscarora's girls' basketball team. The 5-foot-10 forward was a key contributor for a Huskies' team that won Dulles District season and tournament titles, along with the Region 4C tournament championship.
"Our whole team put in so much work and dedicated so much time," Carrigan said of her basketball teammates. "We are all super happy with the outcome. It was a great year."
Carrigan has played competitive basketball for more than a decade. Outside of high school, Carrigan plays for the GTS Fusion, a member of the Under Armour Association League.
Displaying the ability to touch the rim as an eighth grader, Carrigan's basketball coaches suggested she consider joining the track and field team upon entering high school.
"I like each sport for different reasons," Carrigan said. "They definitely complement each other a lot so I think it's good to keep doing both."
Carrigan competes in all three jumping events (high, long and triple) and the sprint races for Tuscarora. Along with her two high jump titles, Carrigan has placed among the top six at the VHSL state outdoor meet in both the long jump and triple jump.
In addition to her athletic prowess, Carrigan excels in the classroom. She maintains a 4.2 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club.
Set to graduate in June of 2024, Carrigan aspires to further her education and athletic career at the collegiate level.
"I definitely want to play a sport in college," she said. "I'm not 100 percent sure which sport yet ... we'll see where the future takes me."
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