EARLY — Reigning Class 3A girls high jump state champion Trinity Tomlinson returns to the UIL Track and Field State Championships at Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas later this week with a goal of defending her title. But she also realizes this year she is the competitor all the others are targeting.

“It’s a been a slow season so far for me and competing at regionals I can really see how tough the competition is this year, but I’m excited,” said Tomlinson, who cleared 5-7 at regionals, matching her state performance a year ago.

Also at the Region I-3A meet, Sam Rocha of Wall — who jumped 5-4 at state last year — and Kylee Willis of Breckenridge both cleared 5-7. But Tomlinson had just one miss before bowing out of the competition, while Rocha had three and Willis four, respectively, which decided the championship.

Despite her success at the event and familiarity with the venue, Tomlinson — who enters the competition with the top regional performance of any of the nine entrants — always feels a bit of pressure, especially with a title to defend this year.

“At state there’s no way you don’t get nervous or have butterflies every year,” said Tomlinson, a junior who will be taking part in her third state meet. “But I want to prove to myself that I can do it again and bring up my self confidence more.”

The Class 3A girls high jump takes place at 10 a.m. Friday.

Tomlinson is also making a return appearance in the Class 3A girls 100-meter hurdles, where she just missed out on a medal last year with a fourth-place effort.

“It’s cool not to get the wild card this year and qualify with a silver medal (at regionals),” Tomlinson said. “I’m excited because I won’t be in the ninth lane again,” she added with a laugh.

Tomlinson ran a 14.88 at regionals, the third best time among state qualifiers. The top time belongs to Merkel’s Kaydin Pursley (14.54), the only runner to finish ahead of Tomlinson in the Region I-3A meet.

As for the potential of bringing home two medals this weekend, Tomlinson said, “That would be awesome. I’ve always wanted to do better and show the school we could do more, so going in another event and trying to compete for another medal is awesome.”

The Class 3A girls 100-meter hurdles will be run at 6:35 p.m. Friday.