Jayleign Flood has a bit of experience on her side entering her second trip to the Class 3 State Track Meet.
The Clever sophomore experienced plenty of firsts, in more ways than one, on a weekly basis as a freshman last year. She had quite the story to tell fellow competitors at State.
“I was talking to some of the girls and they would ask me how long I’ve been running. I’d say this is my first year and they were like, ‘What?’” Flood said. “They were talking about how they do indoor track and I didn’t even know that was a big thing. They were also talking about how they’ve been running since the seventh grade.”
Flood, who indeed never ran track prior to her freshman year, is going back to Jefferson City this weekend as a four-time State qualifier. This past weekend, she helped the Lady Jays’ 4 x 400 relay finish first (4:18.04) and was second in the 100 (12.79), 200 (26.60) and 400 (1:00.28) in Class 3 Sectional 3 action.
Flood’s PRs include a 12.51 in the 100, a 26.18 in the 200 and a 59.86 in the 400 and the 4 x 400 relay’s PR is 4:15.
Flood feels in her second go-around she has learned more about technique and isn’t simply relying on her natural ability.
“I definitely feel I have more experience,” Flood said. “Last year, I really didn’t know anything. I kind of just went out there and learned as I went. This year, I know what to look forward to, how to change things and how to pace myself.
“I’ve worked a lot on blocks and my form. Last year, my form wasn’t very good. I’m improved my form a lot this year,” she added. “Last year, I ran more side to side and would twist my body. I would take my momentum to my sides. This year, I’m trying to keep it where I’m going all forward. That’s what is going to help me run faster.”
More often than not, she has been viewed as the favorite to win. It’s a role she’s tried to get accustomed to.
“There are girls who come to me all the time and say, ‘Oh, you’re the fast one, you’re the one who is going to win,’” Flood said. “I try not to get a big head about it and encourage my opponents. If you go out thinking you’re going to win, you’re not pushing yourself to be the best you can be.”