Gymnastics leads to instant success for Clark in hurdles and pole vault

PAT DAILEY Sportswriter [email protected]

State gymnastics champion Clever sophomore Maliya Clark heads to Class 3 State Track Meet.

Clark’s background in gymnastics served her well in her first season competing on the track. She qualified for the state in the 100 hurdles by finishing second with a 16.14 in Class 3 Section 3 action on Saturday.

“Since I was a gymnast, I know how to jump, so I wanted to try hurdles,” Clark said of her thoughts when she decided to try track and field this year. “It works pretty well for me. I basically do this move in my gymnastics routines (floor and vault) so it was really easy for me to bring it to the track.

Clark’s 16.14 is a new personal best. His PR was 16.26 in the districts.

“I feel like it was faster,” she said before learning about her move to Sectionals. “I felt more fluid and confident today than I did at Districts.”

Clark finished fifth in the pole vault (8-61/4), an event filled with former gymnasts.

Clark realizes the Coach Clever potential that Luke Brosius saw in her.

“He’s wanted me to do athletics for a while,” she said. “It finally convinced me and I wanted to try it.”

Clark had been strictly a gymnast before this spring. She competes for Ozark Mountain Gymnastics. She has won a Tier IV all-around state championship, been a regional qualifier for the past four years, and now competes at Tier X.

“(Friends) barely know I do gymnastics,” Clark said. “They just think I’m doing this for fun.”

Initially, that was Clark’s mindset for the track. She begins to be intrigued by her possibilities in the sport.

My goal was just to have fun with it. I didn’t think I would go this far. The team atmosphere was really good. My teammates helped me throughout this season because I didn’t know what I was doing.