MileSplitCA visited with some of the returning CIF-State Track and Field champions for the purpose of filming a regular practice to produce a feature video series we are calling: 'Workout of a State Champion.'
We visited with Malcolm Clemons on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, for an abbreviated long jump/triple jump workout in advance of a weekend trip to Seattle to compete in the UW High School Invitational.
Clemons is a junior at St. Mary's College High School in Berkeley.
Last June, as a sophomore, Clemons won the State Meet title in the long jump with an impressive progression: 24-01.25 (1.2), 24-04 (1.1), 24-04.75 (2.4), 24-06.75 (2.0), 24-11.75 (1.5) and 25-01 (2.5). He had also qualified to compete in the triple jump finals but a strained hamstring from the long jump forced him to scratch.
After our visit, Clemons went to Seattle and jumped 23-9 to win the long jump competition. He took six jumps, won on his fifth jump, and barely exceeded 20-feet on his final attempt. He was scheduled to compete in the triple jump but scratched.
Another hamstring strain, suffered while jumping Feb. 16 at that meet at the University of Washington, has sidelined Clemons so far this spring.
Coach Jeff Rogers, who we hear from extensively during the video, said they are "taking it very easy and being cautious." Rogers said the hope is that Malcolm will be able to compete toward the end of April in time for the the post-season.
Clemons' winning jump at State is his all-conditions long jump PR. He's 47-7.50 for fifth at State prelims is his triple jump PR.
Clemons played football as a junior, as a receiver and defensive back but says he's better as a long jumper than as a football player.
In October, Clemons was one of seven USATF athletes selected to the Americas Team for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In the video, we see Clemons' training partner Antoine Morales, who is a senior at St. Mary's. So far this season, Morales has a long jump best of 22-3.75 to win at the Skyline Invitational.
St. Mary's College High School sits at the end of a quiet street in the northern Berkeley foothills on the border of Albany. It's an area where deer have been spotted wandering through the wooded neighborhood. On the St. Mary's campus, from the northwestern bleachers overlooking the track, there is an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco. The wind comes off the ocean, through the bay and howls east through those Berkeley foothills. That wind cost us some audio from our visit to St. Mary's.
At one point, Coach Rogers is discussing Clemons' characteristics as a long jumper. Because of the poor audio, we had to cut part of that interview in the video.
Here's that transcription, best as we can recreate it:
Q: What makes him exceptional as a long jumper?
Jeff Rogers: He has most of the prerequisites of a great long jumper. He's fast, although, he's not blazing fast yet. When that day comes, you will see him really explode. He's got decent speed. He's got really good speed on the runway. He attacks the board. He settles very nicely on his penultimate step. And his in-air technique is really good. And he's got good bounce. Neuromuscularly he's very gifted.
Q: How good can he become as a triple jumper?
JR: That's a good question. I would be surprised if he didn't jump 50 feet in high school. ... Is that good? I think it's good. It's not great or spectacular. But if he jumps farther than that, I wouldn't be surprised either. That's an event where he's not super comfortable yet. When he get's comfortable with that event -- he's hungry finally; he hasn't been hungry enough in my estimation to really do well. I think he has an appetite for that event this year. If we can combine that now with him feeling enough to be aggressive, really aggressive on the runway, he can jump really far.
Check out all the 'Workout of a State Champion' series features.