By Lily Belcher
After three years of dedication and training, graduated Newsome High School senior Kylie Clark won the state title (Class 4A) in pole vaulting at the state track and field championships in Jacksonville. In addition to beating the 59 other female athletes, Clark tied her personal best of 12’4” from the season.
“This has been my goal since sophomore year and it was incredible to finally be able to achieve it,” she remarked.
Clark’s accomplishment was not her first achievement as a pole vaulter. She began pole vaulting in her sophomore year after undergoing surgery from a foot injury, which motivated her to find a new passion outside of competitive gymnastics. In her first year on the Newsome track and field team, she broke the high school’s record by nearly a foot when she jumped 11’1” (the previous record was 10’2”). Her early success, bolstered by the support of her high school coach, Kevin Sharpe, and club coach, Sean Young, led her to her accomplishments.
“My coaches help me every day on and off the track. They have always pushed me to be the best that I can be,” she explained. “My coaches, family and friends have definitely been the reason for all my accomplishments so far in the sport. They were there for me through the bad practices, the good meets and everything in between.”
Clark also credited her success to her CrossFit trainer Rashah Davis at Inspired Mobile Fitness, who she began working with after the coronavirus prevented her from participating in track and field events, and to her teammates, who provided the necessary moral support during long practices.
“My team this year was really, really special to me,” Clark gushed. “I’ve never been a part of a team with a bond as strong as this one. I am so proud of all of them and their accomplishments and they all have a special place in my heart.”
In the fall, Clark will be attending the University of South Florida on an athletic scholarship, where she will compete on USF’s track and field team.
“Being a college athlete has been my dream since I was about 7 years old, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it come true,” she said. “I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life.”