Senior, Hayden Clarke, a jumper on the Men’s Track and Field Team, recently defended his first place title in the long jump at the IC4A Championships. Along with that, Clarke extended the Jasper’s track and field team’s streak of 31 consecutive years with at least one IC4A champion.
With his final spring track season upon him, Clarke is determined to continue succeeding in jumping and completing his degree in electrical engineering. Coming from Townsville, Australia, the senior has a big decision to make after graduation in terms of continuing the sport he has mastered for 15 years.
The Quadrangle: How did it feel to defend the title as Long Jump Champion?
Hayden Clarke: It was pretty good. It wasn’t such a strong competition this year as it was last year but being my last one it was definitely very important to me and I was very happy with it. It wasn’t the best preseason coming in but we pulled through and got the win in the end.
TQ: You extended the Jasper’s track and field team’s streak of 31 consecutive years, what does that mean to you?
HC: Manhattan has a really great history, especially in terms of our field events. We’ve had some very, very good athletes come through here and I’m glad I could be one of them and part of the history.
TQ: How did you prepare for the championships and this upcoming outdoor season?
HC: Right at the end of last year, I tore a ligament in my ankle and blew it up. I took a little while to rehab from that and I was eventually able to run when I came back to school. So it’s a little bit of an intensive schedule at the start, trying to get back and rehabbed and all that sort of stuff. And obviously doing engineering on the side it’s a little difficult to fit in practice whenever you sort of need to and then classes on your schedule. It was a really tough first semester but we were able to keep the body together and we made it.
TQ: This is your last track and field season at Manhattan College, what’s going through your mind?
HC: It is fairly sad. I’ve been doing this now for 15 years so it may not be the end of it but it’s at least the end of a very big part of my life. I’ve moved about halfway across the world to come and compete here and do my degree. It means a lot that it’s going to finish and I really want to finish it off well going into the last season that I’ve got.
TQ: Any personal goals for the upcoming outdoor track and field season?
HC: Win everything. I don’t want to go out of here thinking that I could’ve done more because it could very well be my last opportunity. So I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, go out and try to win all the championships and try to make it to the nationals. Last year I missed out because of my ankle so this year I’ll get there and hopefully go to Oregon for the first time.
TQ: Do you have any plans to continue the sport after college?
HC: It really depends on how this year turns out. I’m fairly close to international standards making some Australian teams. I’ve got I think another 10 centimeters before I get to the World University Games for the Australian team. World Champs is within reach, it will be difficult but it’s there. There are some goals but it all depends on how I feel after the season and how close I am to them. Again, it’s a tough sport to keep doing for both your body and the time commitments and you don’t get too much in terms of reimbursement . So there’s a few things to weigh out but not many people get the opportunity to be a professional in any type of sport and I’m close to that level so I would like to continue but it depends.