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Cowles Lady Jays' breakthrough star in high jump and 300 hurdles

CLEVER'S VALERIE COWLES works her way over the bar in the high jump.
CLEVER'S VALERIE COWLES works her way over the bar in the high jump.

Clever’s Valerie Cowles is optimistic her PR in the high jump won’t be stuck at 5-3 as long as it was at 5-0.

Dating back to last season, Cowles’ ceiling had been 5-0 until she cleared 5-1 and then 5-3 at the Girls Nite Out Meet earlier this season.

“I would consistently get 5-0, but anything above that, I would scratch out. But I finally broke though,” she said. “I can't tell you the amount of happiness and excitement I had getting over the bar. Everything was kind of lined up perfectly that day. I had great competition and there was no wind.”

Looking ahead to Districts this weekend, Cowles is hoping she can up her PR at some point in the post-season.

“I'm way over 5-5, but my hips always hit (the bar),” she said. “I can't quite get those over. We've been working on that in practice. Flexibility overall is a big thing.”

Cowles has also emerged as a standout in the 300 hurdles. Her PR of 48.31 ranks among the top five in the state in Class 3.

She’s competed in the 300 hurdles in only six meets.

“She's a good 200 and 400 runner and is tall and long, so we thought, 'Why not try it,’” coach Luke Brosius said. “She's still learning.”

Cowles is balancing splitting her time in between the high jump and 300 hurdles.

“Frequently, I will run (the hurdles) in between jumps,” she said. “But one time I completely got scratched out of high jump because I was hurdling. It's a little stressful. But it's good to be in one mindset and be able to take a break to do something else.”