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 The first year after of high school can be filled with new challenges, unexpected success, surprising disappointment, homesickness, bad dining hall food, new friends and late nights.  Knowing the adjustment isn't always easy, we've asked ESPN RISE intern Hilary May, herself a high school standout at Corona del Mar CA and a collegiate runner at Harvard, to contact some of last year's top prep track and field athletes and find out how things are going...one year out.

                                                                   Jordan Clarke

"My track season in Alaska lasted about 2 months, half of which had snow. The season here is literally 5 times longer."

Alaska's state record holder in both the shot put and the discus, Jordan Clarke wrapped up a stellar career at Bartlett High School ranked #1 in the nation in the shot put with his 71-03.00 mark from the Alaska 4A State meet. 

DyeStat catches up with Clarke to see what freshman year at ASU was like, and what challenges it brought in the classroom and on the track.

Firstly, how are you doing? Do you like the ASU program? Do you like ASU as a college?

I love ASU; we have a wonderful program and a great coach. I have learned a lot about track and myself this year. I am currently still training for my meet in Trinidad, but it’s less intense and different. The school also is a great place to be, Tempe is very nice.
Complete this sentence: Your freshman year was. . .

...awesome and frustrating at the same time.

  Jordan Clarke as a Bartlett AK senior - Photo submitted
Have your goals changed after one year of college? Where is the ASU program taking you? Is the ASU program getting you to your goals?

Yes, I have realized what it takes to get to accomplishing high level goals. I want to become a multiple shot put national champ in 2 years (redshirt sophomore) and have All-Americans in the discus as well. ASU is taking me in the right direction.

How rigorous is training and competing at the college level versus the high school level? What are the major differences and similarities?

My track season in Alaska lasted about 2 months, half of which had snow. The season down here is literally 5 times longer (10 months or so) so I had to get used to the time of season and training up to season. The training is well-defined down here, and you need to work hard, while at the same time trying to stay healthy.
What kind of strength and conditioning do you do to supplement your training?

We lift 5 days a week in the fall, and during the season it varies depending on meets and season. We have daily conditioning also. It is very helpful; it puts you into "throwers" shape.
What is the academic side of ASU like? How hard is it to balance schoolwork with track?

You need to learn how to prioritize your time. If you can be organized you can get training and school done pretty well. It does get exhausting though after a while, both mentally and physically. I am doing the BIS program (bachelor of integrated studies) in Nutrition, and Exercise Wellness.

Is there time to party at ASU? Are you allowed to have a social life being on the track team, and how do you balance it with academics and athletics? Is the social scene what you expected?

Yes, you can definitely have a social life. During the fall is when you have the most time, but you don’t want to go overboard, because it will affect your training. That’s what most freshmen learn. You have to have fun, everyone does, but just don’t get too crazy. Sometimes you just have to let loose. If you want to be successful, you have to make sure you get everything else done before going out and having fun.

Do you go to football games or other ASU sporting events? What is your favorite on campus thing to do?

The football games can sometimes get crazy fun. I mostly enjoy having track meets and watching other sports perform on campus. Also, sometimes we have comedians come in and perform at our theatre-- it's pretty cool.

What is your typical Saturday night like?

First semester freshman year: socializing, going out.
Second semester: staying in and relaxing from a meet.

What is your typical Monday night like?


What are ASU track athletes like? Are they different than the average ASU student?

We have more on our plate than typical students with balancing track and school. The ones here that I know are very nice. I fit in well with the throwers and the other people I know.

After growing up in Alaska, you chose one of the hottest places to attend college-- Arizona! What was this transition like? What did you find most shocking?

At first I hated the heat!  But after you adapt to it, you learn to like it. It’s the best training environment ever, warm all year round. I was not used to having a city like Phoenix right beside me with all of the people and interstates. In Alaska, where I’m from, the city has 300,000 people, which takes up about half the state's population. And we have like 2 highways, one going north and another going south. The interstates were a big change.

You redshirted this year, your freshman year. What was that like?

It went well, I am happy I redshirted.  To me it wasn’t much different with the amount of meets I threw in, because I had about 8 this year, and that’s what I had every year in Alaska. It was harder to train for like 9-10 months than 2. It taught me a lot about college training, and the next year will be much improved

  Clarke competes in the 2009 USATF Junior Nationals in Eugene, Oregon
  Photo by PhotoRun

What is your relationship with throws coach David Dumble like? What is communication like? What do you like most about his coaching style? What about head coach, Greg Kraft? How much do you interact with him directly?

Coach Dumble and I are pretty close for only having been with him training for 1 year. It is very open communication; he’s a great coach, but is also there for you if you have problems with your personal life.  I love the fact that when he coaches, he is always positive, and gives you feedback after every throw. He gives you good visual to help you understand what you’re doing. Coach Kraft is a great guy too, he is the head coach and jump coach, so he is very busy, but I still see him very often. He is a great guy and a great coach too.
You recently won the Junior shot put title at the USA Championships, earning a spot on the Pan American team with a meet record throw. What was this day of competition like for you? What did you think of the meet?

It was very exciting! It was the biggest meet I’ve ever been to. I loved the meet, it was a great experience. I am very excited to get out of the country; I have never left it until now. I have been training for the meet for a couple months, and before I was training the college shot.

What is the ASU team dynamic like? Is it different than your high school team?

Yes, it is much more organized and more intense.

What was the biggest shock about ASU?

The heat and size of everything.
What was the biggest disappointment?

I don’t really have disappointments.
What was the best part about freshman year?

Experiencing another state on my own.
What are you most looking forward to?

The next 4 years coming up.
What do you miss most about high school?

Being a kid, haha, and having fewer responsibilities.
What was your favorite college meet?

My indoor meet, I threw against UCLA and I was a foot behind Bo Taylor. I came back and PR'd by a foot to improve to 62'8 to win the meet. It felt really good.
What are your summer plans?

I’m just lightly training the shot right now, and doing some lifting. It’s a more relaxing time,

What is your coolest non-track related talent?

I used to be really good at Guitar Hero.

After college I see myself…

...hopefully healthy, training post-collegiate and getting picked up by a company, throwing as a career till I’m about 30. 


High School:

PRs: PRs: Shot Put - 71'3’’; Discus - 204


Freshman PRs: Shot Put - 62'8’’; Discus - 178

Photos: headshot - thesundevils.cstv.com; top, submitted by Jordan Clarke; bottom,