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State champion Clark proud pressure of final jump brought out the best in her


Maliya Clark wouldn’t have been looking forward to her self-evaluation from the Class 3 State Track Meet if she hadn’t responded like the state champion she turned out to be.

Clark couldn’t have been much more clutch while winning a gold medal in the triple jump. The Clever senior posted a PR of 38-1 1/2 in her final attempt. It was more than two feet better than her previous five attempts. 

“Most of the time under pressure when I'm not doing good, I do kick it in gear and my adrenaline goes up,” Clark said. “I'm pretty hard on myself if I can't do it, so I wanted to get it done. 

“I had not been jumping good,” she added. “But I knew I could do it. I wanted to give it my all.”

Clark smashed her previous PR of 37-10 3/4.

“I'm pretty proud,” she said.

Breaking down the three phases of the triple jump, Clark pin-pointed her second phase as the key to her winning jump.

"I had been thinking back at all the other jumps I had done and I wasn't focusing on my technique,” she said. “On (the last) jump, I took time to focus on what I actually needed to do, instead of just jumping. The second phase is the one I had struggle with. I focused on making it longer, which helped me get further.”

Clark was a heavy favorite in the triple jump, but wondered aloud if it was simply not going to be her day.

“After her fifth jump, she looked over to me and said, 'Coach, I don't know if I have it today,’” Clever coach Luke Brosius said. “All I said to her was 'You can do it, you have one great jump left.’” 

Clever jumps coach Laythen Utke was sick and couldn’t attend the meet, but still was able to offer Clark advice.

“He was on FaceTime giving me pointers that got me to pull that jump out,” she said.

Clark also credited her season-long rival, Versailles’ Kylee Richey, for helping bring out the best in her. Richey was second to Clark. The two became friends over the course of this season.

“Going into our sixth jump, I told her, 'If you get the title, you deserve it,’” Clark said. “We were happy for each other. It was good that we competed against each other because we were good competition.”

Clark became the Lady Jays’ first four-time State medalist from one season.

Her medals from track and gymnastics have taken over her bedroom.

“I have rods that you hang curtains up with and I have them all around my room with over 500 medals on them,” Clark said.